The Government has set aside Sh1.2 billion incentives for charter planes to stimulate demand at the Coast by that category of tourists.
Announcing a raft of incentives that will revitalize the tourism industry, the President said the move will encourage those already flying in to increase the frequency of their flights.
The President disclosed that visa fees for children under 16 will also be waived with effect from February 1.
To bring park entry fees down, President Kenyatta directed the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary to initiate the amendment of the VAT Act and incorporate the amendments in the Finance Bill for financial year 2016/2017.
“With this measure, the Kenya Wildlife Service will cap the park entry fees at $60 (Sh6,000) down from $90 (Sh9,000),” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State spoke on Tuesday when he opened the English Point Marina, a multi-billion shilling landmark resort in Mombasa County. First Lady Margaret Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretaries Judy Wakhungu and Eugene Wamalwa were also at the event.
President Kenyatta said the resort is a major endorsement of the recovery strategy of the country’s tourism and hospitality industry, adding that it heralds good tidings in the sector.
The four-acre ocean view resort features a 26-room hotel, conferencing facility, a roof-top restaurant, a casino, swimming pool, 96 serviced apartments – including 8 penthouses – seafront restaurant, gym, spa, a boardwalk with retail outlets, water-sports centre and fully-serviced 88-berth marina. This will diversify Kenya’s tourist products.
President Kenyatta also said the waiver of the landing fees at Mombasa and Malindi airports for charter planes will be extended to June 30 2018 to help the industry regain its full strength.
“In return, I must ask all players to respond to these initiatives, and to the ongoing consultations, with the seriousness they deserve. It is time to make the most of our heritage and our gifts,” President Kenyatta said.
He said the Government has also supported tourism in three key areas: infrastructure, security and renewal of partnerships with stakeholders in the industry.
“The improvements in security are there for all to see. We dare not allow that momentum to be lost,” he said.