My 5-Cents For Improving Tourism In Kenya
Kenya receives less than 800,000 foreign tourists annually and we get excited when we “win” awards as a leading tourist destination. We are not. We get to excited when one luxury liner arrives in Mombasa with 250 tourists. Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar (a market) receives 100million tourists per year! Cape Town’s aquarium (fish pond) receives 3million tourists. Kenya receives 800,000 tourists only and we are proud. But we can receive 5million tourists and more if:
1. All hotels & restaurants employ trained or gifted chefs and waiters; and not the school drop outs they are doing now at Kshs. 12,000/= p.m. salary. Tourists love good and authentic food. We must make it mandatory that all chefs and waiters must come from Utalii College and above.
2. Customer service from airport to hotels and taxis must be real. Our customer service is zero. And they think tourists are white people only!
3. Tour guides and drivers must be trained and certified. Our current tour guides are hopeless …. They only know how to drop tourists to Carnivore and Masai Mara and get excited to sleep with old white female tourists. Tour guides must know our history, flora and fauna.
4. We must be able to sell ice to Eskimos. Turkey, Egypt, Spain et al sell magic out of nothing …. I have queued in Morocco and Turkey after paying nearly Kshs. 6,000/= to see empty Mosques and same amount to see an arboretum in Cape Town and a peeing statue in Brussels.
5. Set up a fully semi-autonomous tourist police unit. Not the current few hundreds. But 10,000 strong tourist police force with equipment, helicopters and nice uniform. Tourists want security. Tourists go to Egypt in millions Inspite of terrorism because they trust the Egyptian police.
6. Sell Kenya Airways but the new owner must retain the name. A successful national airlines is good brand. Think Singapore, Turkey, Dubai. KQ has betrayed us.
7. Take Ministry of Tourism to the Office of the President.