Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Peninnah Malonza says the country’s tourism sector has suffered a significant blow since the opposition party, Azimio la Umoja started its series of demonstrations.
Malonza who spoke at the Maasai Mara National Reserve during the launch of the Maasai Mara Management Plan, Spatial Plan and the Greater Maasai Mara Ecosystem Plan regretted that a number of foreigners have cancelled hotel bookings following the recent demonstrations in the country.
“I am the current CS in charge of Tourism and I can confirm the major threats that the illegal demonstrations have posed to the sector. We have witnessed hotel bookings being cancelled every day,” said Malonza.
Malonza was in the company of Environment and Forestry CS Soipan Tuya, Narok Governor Patrick Ntutu and her three Principal Secretaries Ummi Bashir (Culture and Heritage), John Ololtuaa (Tourism) and Silvia Kihoro (Wildlife).
“If there is anyone who has been severely affected by the demonstrations it is the Tourism industry which is one of the biggest foreign earners of the country,” she said.
Governor Ntutu who is the Chairman of the Tourism and Wildlife Committee at the Council of Governors said the demonstrations are a great threat to Tourism in Kenya.
He said the Narok people depend on Tourism for livelihood and the demonstrations will affect them economically.
“If the former Prime Minister loves the Maasai Community as he claims, then he should call off the demonstrations immediately because they are affecting the people,” he said.
Their sentiments were echoed by East Africa Legislative Assembly MP David Sankok, Narok East MP Ken Kiloku and Narok Deputy Governor Tamalinye Koech who called on the Azimio La Umoja leader Raila Odinga to call off the demonstrations for the sake of the economy.
Sankok asked those engaging in demonstrations to use the same energy to till their farms in this season when it is raining around the country.
Narok County largely depends on Tourism as over 70 per cent of its domestic earnings are gotten from the Maasai Mara.
In the current financial year, the County government estimated to collect Sh. 2.9 billion from the National Reserve.