For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Mar 16th 2015
The EastAfrican BUSINESS MARCH 14-20,2015 PRICE OF INSECURITY Terrorist attacks, advisories deal a blow to KWS as tourists stay away Wildlife agency seeks to ≥evamp Kenya’s tou≥ism afte≥ huge losses By JEFF OTIENO The EastAfrican advisories issued by Western countries have seen the revenues of the Kenya Wildlife Service drop by 18 per cent in the past three years. Latest data shows that rev- N enue from parks shrank from Ksh4.29 billion ($47.6 million) in the 2011/2012 financial year to Ksh3.5 billion ($39.03 million) in 2013/2014, mainly due to insecurity. The cities of Nairobi and Mombasa are major tourism destinations and, as a result of increased insecurity, foreign tourists stayed away. Conservationists are ex- pressing fears that a further decline in earnings may affect the operations of KWS and compromise its role of providing security to the country’s wildlife. In addition, tourism, a ma- jor foreign-exchange earner for Kenya, has declined, denting the country’s overall economic growth and development. Figures from the Anti-Ter- rorism Police Unit (ATPU) indicate that Kenya has been attacked 133 times since the country sent soldiers to Somalia under Operation Linda Nchi in October 2011 to dismantle the networks of the militant group Al Shabaab. ATPU data also shows that at least 264 people have been killed by the terrorists and 923 injured since the launch of Operation Linda Nchi. The attacks prompted coun- tries such as the United States, Britain, France and Australia to issue travel advisories on Kenya. Industry players say the per- formance of the tourism sector last year was poor compared with 2012 and 2013. The official figures on the performance of the sector are expected to be released before the next financial year. KWS acting director Wil- liam Kiprono revealed that, having realised that revenues would drop due to the effects of terrorism and travel advisories, the management took proactive measures to ensure the organisation’s operations are not adversely affected. “We are realigning opera- Kenya wildlife Service (KWS) director William Kiprono at a watering hole at Kamboyo in Tsavo West National Park. Picture: File tions to reduce operational costs and eliminate wastage and also reduce capital expenditure where necessary,” said Mr Kiprono. The director said the or- ganisation had lobbied the government for additional budgetary support and had so far received Ksh1 billion ($11.1 million) to finance its core operations. Half-year park entry rev- enue, for example, declined to Ksh1,689,264,655 ($18.8 million) from July to December 2014 from a high of Ksh2,287,498,663 ($25.4 million) over the same period in 2012. Despite the campaign by the Kenya Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism, to encourage more tourists (both local and international) to visit the country’s national parks, visitor numbers have remained low. In the financial year 2011/ 2012, some 2,030,905 tourists visited the parks; the number remained almost the same in 2012/2013 (2,031,042 visitors) before declining to 1,993,253 in the 2013/2014 period. Data released by the gov- ernment shows that Kenya received 172,258 holidaymakers in the second quarter of last We are realigning operations to reduce operational costs and eliminate would-be unnecessary wastage and also reduce capital expenditure where necessary.” William Kiprono, KWS acting director EFFECTS OF TRAVEL ADVISORIES According to the Anti-terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), Kenya has been attacked 133 times since the country sent soldiers to Somalia under the Operation Linda Nchi in October 2011 to dismantle the networks of the militant group Al Shabaab. At least 264 people have been killed by the terrorists and 923 injured since then. Largely due to travel advisrories issued by Western countries, year, down from 248,722 recorded in the same period the previous year. In June last year, arriv- als dropped to a record low of 47,307, the worst in the country’s recent history. In 2013, Kenya received through Jomo Kenyatta and Moi international airports 68,424 tourists in April, 74,523 in May and 97,775 in June. It is not only KWS that is ex- periencing a financial crunch due to insecurity. The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers last year said industry players lost more than Ksh40.4 billion ($455 million). The KWS director said the recruitment of additional game wardens will go on in all counties from March 16 as planned, describing it as an important exercise for the organisation. “The recruitment affirms our plan to address human-capital needs in the organisation despite the present dip in revenue,” said Mr Kiprono. Last year, KWS recruited an half-year park entry revenue declined to Ksh1,689,264,655 ($18.8 million) from July to December 2014 from a high of Ksh2,287,498,663 ($25.4 million) over the same period in 2012. In June last year, arrivals dropped to a record low of 47,307, the worst in the country’s recent history. In June 2013, Kenya had received 97,775 visitors through Jomo Kenyatta and Moi international airports. additional 566 rangers to enhance wildlife security and combat poaching in the country. It also disbursed specialised equipment to security units in protected areas to improve efficiency and effectiveness. To reverse the negative trend, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie recently announced that the government had earmarked Ksh900 million ($10 million) in the current financial year for tourism recovery. Ms Kandie said part of the funds will be used to market the country globally in key tourist source markets in Europe and the US to help boost international tourist arrivals. However, Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association chairman Mohamed Hersi said the government must urgently address insecurity before the country can realise any gains in the industry. “No matter what marketing efforts we use in the traditional source markets, it will not be easy to win back the confidence of tourists unless the travel advisories are lifted,” Mr Hersi said. Tourists on a game drive in Serengeti National Park. Pic: File umerous terrorist attacks and the subsequent travel 41 Tanapa: Pa≥k fees to ≥emain unchanged By COSTANTINE MUGANYIZI Special Correspondent TANZANIA WILL not revise entry fees to its premier game parks as planned following the unimpressive performance of its tourism sector last year. In an unexpected move, the country’s wildlife management body said the current charges, introduced two years ago amid stiff opposition from key stakeholders, will remain until next year. Tanzania National Parks (Ta- napa) said changing the fees after a bad business year would be counterproductive and hamper performance targets for this year. Fees for the major game attrac- tions in Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tarangire, Gombe, Mahale and Manyara National Parks were introduced on July 1, 2013 to run till June 30 this year. “Tanzania National Parks would like to inform the general public that our park fees will remain unchanged for the period July 2015 to June 2016,” Tanapa said in a notice on its website last week. It said that the notice arose from the fact that the fee structure available on the website and printed materials showed that the current fees were applicable from July 2013 to June 2015. The entry fee for East Africans to Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Gombe, Arusha, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks is Tsh10,000 from 16 years and above and Tsh2,000 (5-16 years) while for Katavi, Mikumi, Rubondo, Kitulo, Mahale Mkomazi and Udzungwa National Parks it is Tsh5,000 and Tsh2,000, respectively. Foreigners aged 16 years and above pay $60 (non-East Africans) and $30 (expatriates working in Tanzania) while for 5-16 years it is $20 and $10. Children under five years enter the parks free of charge. Vehicles 2,000kg and above pay Tsh2,000. It is Tsh35,000 for 2,001-3,000kg, Tsh60,000 for 3,001-7,000kg) and Tsh150,000 (7,000kg). Open-top vehicles pay 50 per cent extra. Stakeholders, who were expect- ing the fees to be raised, welcomed the decision, saying it was also important in promoting regional and domestic tourism.
Mar 9th 2015
Mar 23rd 2015