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Boat owners protest park entry fee increment

16 January 2014, 13:13 Bob Ndwiga

Malindi - More than 100 boat owners in Malindi and Watamu Marine parks in Kilifi County went on strike Wednesday morning to protest the recent move by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to increase park entry fee by 100 percent.

Following the strike which led to the grounding of all boats that ferry tourists to the two Marine parks, more than 200 prospective visitors to the parks were turned away.

Confusion is still on at the Malindi Marine Park where tourists willing to sail in private boats to the marine park have been restrained.

The KWS raised park entry fee for the marine parks from 10 US Dollars to 20 US dollars per person for foreign tourists, while Kenyan adults are now required to pay KES 150  up from KES 100.

The chairman of the Malindi Marine Boat Operators Association, Twalib Abed said the fee increase was done without consultation. He said the boat owners would boycott the parks until the KWS reviews the fees downwards.

Since Wednesday morning, the boat owners have been seeking a meeting with the Malindi Marine park senior warden Felix Mwangangi who promised to hold consultations with the head offices to look for a way out of the stalemate.

The strike comes at a time when bookings have been good for the last two months since Christmas and New Year holidays started. The raise in fees became effective on  December 31, 2013 but implementation was delayed until Wednesday.

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