PS blames environmental pollution for derailed tourism

Tourists having fun at Diani beach during Christmas festive season.Tourism stakeholders in Malindi have expressed optimism that the international market will pick up in November BRIVIAN SIMIYU
Kwale, KENYA: Principal Secretary for the state department of tourism Joe Okudo has cited environmental pollution and lack of investments as factors derailing the growth of tourism industry. 
The PS expressed concerns over the failure by stakeholders to address the changing tastes and preferences for tourists touring the different beach destinations at the coast.
“We have realized over the years beach destinations have not changed thus we are engaging stakeholders in an open conversation and interrogating ourselves in coming up with an agreed way for addressing the challenges,” he said.
Speaking on Thursday at Diani in Kwale county during the official opening of the Coast stakeholders summit by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Okudo said that the Coast tourism council will help deal with the issues undermining the coast beach destinations.
He noted that the government is looking forward to improving infrastructure and security as well as partnering with the private sector to improve the quality of products for the experienced tourists coming in the country.
“Hotels cannot be the same they were in the 1980s and to expect change. We cannot keep the tourists in hotels and beaches where they cannot go because of the harassment by the beach boys,” he said.
“We need to adopt a culture that locals will benefit directly from the tourists coming in and that is our target for 2019,” he added.
He further said that the Dusit terror attack in Nairobi that claimed 21 lives had a zero effect in the tourism sector hence did not affect the sector.
“We will stand resilient and continue to improve and business as always,” he said.
On his part, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya said that the county government is fully committed to improving the tourism sector by providing a conducive working environment to hoteliers and other stakeholders in the sector.
“We support the efforts put to bolster the tourism industry and as county government, we are determined to complete a number of development projects that will see the industry flourish,” he said.