Kenya tourism industry on the verge of collapse, officials warn

The Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers on Friday warned that tourism at the Coast region was on the verge of collapse.

Close to 30,000 to 40,000 staff members are set to lose their jobs by the end of April. The industry officials said.

At least 23 hotels have closed since last year and many more are set to close in the coming months.

They attributed the situation to several of factors, most of which they said were out of the investors’ control, adding that the tourism and hospitality sector crisis is worse than the downturns that followed the 1997 Likoni clashes and 2007/2008 post election violence.

Addressing a press conference at Mombasa’s Serena Hotel, KAHC officials led by their chairman Harald Kampa accused government of offering lip service in mitigating the “worst nightmare” facing their businesses.

“We made efforts to sustain the business hoping that the situation would improve but all indications point to a bleak future. Many of us have dropped rates but we can only lower the rates to a particular extent,” said Mr Kampa.

He added: “We lack commitment from the government. We are now going to bypass government and try to reach out to these new markets. We hope the government will not allow us to move to this state of confusion.”

The government, however, recently hired a British public relations firm, Grayling Global, to repair the damage done to Kenya’s image.

Grayling Global has previously said it would promote Kenya’s potential globally and “assist the government in communicating its message effectively both regionally and internationally”.

-Daily Nation