Statement by The Kenya Tourism Industry

Kenya Economy at the Risk of Dying

§ Kenya’s tourism stakeholders have worked tirelessly over the last seven years to rebuild the industry after the slump of 1997, earning the country Kshs 65.4 billion in 2007

§ Tourism is now Kenya’s leading source of foreign exchange, directly employing 250,000 people while supporting an estimated 3 million people indirectly

§ Tourism has a huge impact in all aspects of national economy, especially agriculture, transport and communication, aviation, oil companies, breweries, manufacturers, technology firms. Insurance companies. Advertising agencies, construction firms, artisans, handicraft makers, community projects, the small business and informal sector amongst many others

§ Tourism generates approximately Kshs 20 billion in tax revenue for the government each year

§ A big percentage of tourist bookings for the first half of the 2008 have been lost. Those for the rest of the year hang in the balance awaiting the outcome of political developments. An average of Kshs 5.5 billion in revenue is expected to be lost every month.

§ The view that the current economic crisis can be readily and quickly overcome is erroneous. Tourism recovery is a long and expensive process that needs a supportive and proactive leadership willing to achieve this.

Why should the above concern Kenyans?

There may be a temptation to view the above issues as a “tourism industry problem” but the truth of the matter is that all Kenyans irrespective of their political affiliation who will suffer because:-

§ Hotel and lodges are recording low occupancies and some are almost empty. There are also, very few visitors to the National Parks and Reserves. As a result, 120,000 people face imminent unemployment and their families will be plunged into poverty regardless of how they voted.

§ There will be a ripple effect hitting suppliers in agriculture, industry and other supporting sectors. These sectors will suffer loss of businesses and jobs. Airlines are also recording losses as tourists fail to come to Kenya.

§ The tourist informal sector supports an estimated 250,000 jobs in several areas such as handicrafts, transport, supplies, etc. a vast majority of these workers (especially at the Coast) stand to suffer immediately regardless of how they voted.

§ Several Government projects are supported (directly or indirectly) by revenues derived from tourism. The viability of such projects may well be affected

§ Several Local Authorities (e.g. Narok, Trans Mara, Isiolo and Samburu) are almost entirely dependent on tourism. The livelihood and incomes of persons resident in these areas are at risk.

Kenya’s reputation as a leading tourist destination is being damaged in the global market place with our competitors taking away our prospective clients.

Do our leaders care?


To Kenyans

Our Honourable Members of Parliament have shown us the way. Despite their difference, when they met in parliament, they did not engage in demonstrations and violence. They observed the rules of the House and in so doing have now secured their salaries and by extension, their livelihoods. Why do you want to destroy yours?

Shun violence and hooliganism … Give dialogue a chance … You can make a difference.

To Politicians

§ There are more Kenyans trying to get to work and earn their living than there are those trying to demonstrate on the streets. Let us separate the political problems currently being experienced from the right of all Kenyans (of whatever political persuasion) to earn a decent living.

§ Every day that the political impasse continues is another deathblow to the economy. While negotiations continue to falter and the disagreements spill over into our street with calls for demonstrations, millions of innocent Kenyans are losing their livelihoods. Their hopes and dreams for the future are being shattered regardless of how they voted.

We specifically appeal to H.E. the president, Hon Mwai Kibaki and Hon Raila Odinga to demonstrate their statesmanship and save this great country from economic disaster. Show Kenyans that you care about our country and act now by meeting and effecting a political settlement to this political crisis.

Tourism must be given priority to rebuild our economy and our leaders need to address this issue immediately.

Tourism Creates Wealth … Tourism Creates Employment … Tourism Alleviates Poverty!

Please restore peace and maintain peace!!!

Kenya Tourism Federation

23rd January 2008

Tel: 601343, Fax: 604730, Tourist Helpline: 254-020-604767, Cell: 0722 745645/0733 617499, Email:

Bookmark the permalink.