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Kenya Announces New Tourism Incentives

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday announced a range of new incentives put in place to encourage tourism in Kenya.

Speaking at the opening of Kenya’s first luxury yachting marina (English Point Marina) in Mobasa, the President unveiled the initiatives including the Charter Incentive Scheme, changes to Kenyan visa regulations, and reduced costs on park fees.

As part of the $11.7m USD Charter Incentive Scheme, charter airlines which travel to the coastal cities of Mombasa and Malindi, will now be able to land without any cost. Charter airlines will also be further incentivised as the Ministry has announced that they will be subsidised by $30USD per every passenger brought to the region. The scheme will continue until 30 June 2018.

Tourist fees have also been revised as the Ministry of Tourism builds upon last year’s new and simplified e-visa process, by wiping the usual $50USD fee for visa applications of children under 16 – this will be effective from 1st February 2016. Additionally, the original KWS park fees of $90USD will now be reduced and capped to $60USD, with a complete removal of VAT charges on national park fees.

The President also announced a number of coast infrastructure improvements that will ease travel to and around the Kenyan coast, saying, “We continue to invest heavily in our infrastructure in the knowledge that quality roads and services are critical to the socio-economic transformation that we all desire.”

Improvements include:
· Expansion of JKIA and Malindi airports to handle greater numbers of visitors.
· Construction of the Port – Reitz Mombasa Road and the Dongo – Kundu Bypass that will allow tourists to travel to the South Coast (Diani) without using the ferry
· Kenya Ferry Service to buy and operate two new ferries for the Likoni Channel crossing

The President further thanked the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and France for lifting their travel advisories on the coast saying, “International governments recognise that security here has vastly improved and there is much to be gained by partnering with Kenya and the East Africa region. We must not allow that momentum to be lost.”

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Hon. Najib Balala, also attending the opening said, “We are engaged in a high-level tourism recovery effort in consultation with stakeholders from the government and private sector. This is the right way to shape the strategies we need to transform and sustain our tourism industry.

“The government is fully behind our ambition to restore Kenya’s tourism crown and we ask all tourism stakeholders to respond to our initiatives with the seriousness they deserve. It is time to maximise the heritage and natural gifts we possess and give the world’s travellers the experience they deserve.”

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