Kenya: State Dangles Tax Breaks for Tourism Sector Revival

Kenya: State Dangles Tax Breaks for Tourism Sector Revival

The government is offering tax exemptions to investors in the tourism industry to help spur its growth, Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said.

Mr Balala said the incentives had worked in favour of tourism development in Nairobi and his ministry was encouraged to replicate them in the counties.

Speaking in Kerio Valley during the official reopening of Rimoi National Reserve in Elgeyo-Marakwet on Friday, Mr Balala said his ministry had allocated Sh8 million to a feasibility study for the reserve.

"Rimoi is a new product in the tourism market," said Mr Balala. "I have come with chief officials from Brand Kenya, Kenya Association of Tour Operators and Tourism Fund and I'm certain that they have also seen a new product in the market."

The minister, who was accompanied by his National Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich, said Kenya was back on track in tourism numbers.

He said he had just returned from a marketing trip in Berlin, Milan and Geneva.

Kenya's tourism had suffered from the recent insecurity associated with terror activities perpetuated by the Al-Shabaab terror network that saw Western countries issue travel advisories.

Also at Friday's event were governors Issa Timamy (Lamu), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu) and the host, Mr Alex Tolgos.

Also area Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Nicholas Biwott and Margaret Kamar and former Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo.Mr Balala said news of an oil find in the Kerio Valley by Tullow Oil would go a long way in boosting and nurturing tourism in Rimoi.

"I was Cabinet secretary for Mining and I know that Kenya has minerals in plenty," said Mr Balala. "With the oil find in Kerio Valley, I'm telling you that you shouldn't be wasting time. "What you need to do is invest in Kerio Valley now before prices for land go up. There are good things ahead."

Mr Balala spoke at Kobulwo Primary School after officially commissioning the reserve's Sh22 million gate and watchtower alongside a 33-kilometre, solar-powered electric fence.

The launch was climaxed by release of wildlife, moved by the Kenya Wildlife Service to the reserve in a restocking programme.

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