If you are living and/or working here in Kwale County in the Tourism business you are more than wondering about the efforts our Kwale Government is investing in supporting or stimulating one of the most important industries in our County.
Within the 2 years budgets so far, the tourism sector got in total a budget of over 200 Mio Schilling for investments – only where have all this funds been spent ?
Statement after Statement – Speech after Speech – Interview after Interview – the Governor and his Minister of Tourism Adam Sheikh were re-phrasing the same song and the same projects.
Among others here are their Flagship Projects for Tourism:
1) Beautification of the Beach
2) Creation, Protection and Promoting of at least 3 Kaja Forests within our County
3) Transition of the current harassing Beach Boy behavior into a win-win situation for all parties.
4) Creating a public awareness campaign called: “ Go South – Destination Kwale “ to stimulate tourism
5) Streetlights and Beautification of the Diani Beach Road
6) Develop Maji Moto to boost tourism
7) Develop sports tourism as fast-track to boost arrival numbers
8) Extension work on the airstrip’s runway from the current 800 meters to 2 kilometers
It´s shocking that nearly nothing has been achieved yet. Even more shocking if we want to believe Adam Sheikh´s own words that more than 31.500 people of Kwale County are depending on the Toursim business.
So the key question will be: Is our Kwale Government not able to support the Foreign Tourism Industry … or … are they not willing ? It looks like the answer should be more than a YES or NO. Analyzing the work the Government did in the past 2 years we could come to following answers:
1) Our Government has definitely put Foreign Tourism on low priority.
They are investing and concentrating much more on Agriculture, Education, Health and Food Security. Nothing wrong with that – hands up – but Tourism – they are not in favor of.
2) Our Government Tourism stakeholders have not found their role & responsibilities in the Foreign Tourism Industry Arena.
The role of County Tourism Ministry should be clearly to succeed in infrastructure homework’s. Organize the beach and the beach boys. Make sure the main beach road is in good conditions, well maintained with some streetlights. Make sure the main Tourist areas are clean without piles of garbage. Organize security within the tourist centers, hotels and shopping areas.
3) Our County Tourism Minister is not able to handle all the south coast Tourism Players.
It is essential for all government officials that they know what is going on in their arena. Who are the players, who are the foreign tourist, what are their interests, when are the booking and where, different nationalities have different behaviors and and and. For that you organize normally regular meetings – inviting all related business stakeholders …. from Kenyan Safari operators to big English hotel manager – from German resort director to Dutch restaurant chef.
Talking to many Coast Tourism players – we can confirm that most of them are still in love with this county and believe in the future of Kwale tourism. On the other hand nobody really understands why our County Government is hiding away and not fulfilling their project promises. The business community is willing to talk and to take responsibility – only – Dear Mr. Governor the ball is in your corner.