Kenya believes it has become an over-priced destination
Kenya’s cabinet secretary for tourism, Najib Balala, has urged industry players to make tourism more affordable for domestic and international travellers.
Balala made the remarks in an interview with local television channel, Citizen, where he lamented the high cost of tourism in the East African country.
“This is the problem I have with the industry. We have overpriced ourselves. And if you look at Kenya – people come here once in a lifetime. Why do we have to get people once in a lifetime? Because it is very expensive to come to Kenya,” he said.
Balala noted that the high cost of tourism in Kenya had a ripple effect, dragging the economy. Fewer number of tourists means fewer number jobs for people.
“We need to make it affordable. I don’t say make it cheap, but make it affordable even for us Kenyans,” Balala noted.
He said that Kenya’s tourism industry had taken a huge hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the situation would not have been this bad if local tourism was made affordable.
“Everybody wants to leave Nairobi or leave Mombasa, and people are traumatized by this pandemic. They want a break. They want to breathe. But then, at what price? They’ll prefer to sit in their gardens or go upcountry to their farms and then enjoy themselves as families rather than going and discovering and giving businesses to those lodges or hotels in the Coast,” he said. “So these are the challenges we have, because the pricing is not right for the Kenyan market yet.”
Kenya had announced last month that its tourism industry has lost about $800 million due to the COVID-19 pandemic.