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Uhuru introduces measures to boost tourism

23 May 2014, 17:23 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - The government has come up with several measures to boost tourism in the country, including tax reduction to lift the ailing sector.

In the measures announced by president Uhuru Kenyatta Friday, the government has officially removed Value Added tax VAT on all services provided by travel agents.

The president also ordered the payment of Income Tax owed to industry players by the KRA by Wednesday next week to boost financial resources.

Added to that, there are reductions in airport landing rates, 40% on international arrivals and 10% on domestic arrivals.

Entry into national parks has also been reduced to encourage international arrivals as well as domestic tourists.

" Te reductions will aim to reduce the cost of operation in the sector as well as encourage international as well as local tourists to visit such places, he said.

President Kenyatta also ordered that Government events be held in hotels, revoking a directive by the National Treasury Circular restricting the public service from holding conferences and other meetings in private hotels.

The President's move follows recent travel advisories issued by the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and France to its citizens that Kenya is not a safe destination.

" It is a lean time but we must not put our heads down and instead focus on trying to lift the fortunes of the sector in ways we can control, he added.

To give much needed momentum to recovery, President Kenyatta affirmed that all budgetary resources at National Government earmarked for foreign travel in Supplementary II, will be reallocated to domestic travel.

"The National Government urges the County Governments to reallocate all their foreign travels budgets to domestic travels in order to spur growth of domestic tourism and sustain employment,” President Kenyatta stated.

President Kenyatta said the industry has also identified several other measures to complement government’s initiatives to revamp the sector.

The tourism stakeholders pledged to offer better vacation package to Kenyans compared to what they offer international package tourists, estimated at about USD 60 (Ksh5,280) daily per person.

"The Government and Industry will develop an interactive Kenya Tourism Portal, within a week, to promote and manage booking and distribution of domestic guests under the Tourism Stimulus Program, the President further added.

The president finally urged Kenyans to promote their own and visit hotels and recreational facilities tom boost the sector.

" It is time for Kenyans to stand for their own and the government and stakeholders have made a big step in making it easier to visit Kenya.

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- None

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