The tourism sector on Tuesday got a major boost as President Uhuru Kenyatta opened two international hotels and laid the foundation stone for the tallest building in Africa.
The Nairobi hotels are the Park Inn in Westlands with a bed capacity of 140 managed by Radisson Hotel, and Lazizi Premier with a bed capacity of 144 and is the first luxurious airport hotel in Kenya.
Uhuru also laid the foundation stone for the Pinnacle Tower, a 70 storey building which will be the tallest tower in Africa. The Pinnacle’s two towers in Nairobi’s Upper Hill area will offer stylish commercial offices, luxury apartments and a five star Hilton Hotel, joined together by a three storey shopping mall and entertainment centre.
Speaking during the functions, Uhuru lauded the new investments saying it would not only create job opportunities for Kenyans but also change the skyline of Nairobi. He assured investors of his Government’s commitment to creating an enabling environment to ensure the flow of investment into the country.
While laying the foundation stone for Africa’s tallest building, Uhuru pointed out that the massive investment is a clear demonstration that Kenya’s tourism is moving towards full recovery, after going through a depressed period.
“Your choice to invest in Kenya is, indeed, a clear vote of confidence in the policy reforms we have been implementing in the recent past to make Kenya attractive and competitive and to reposition our tourism sector,” said the President.
He assured of his administration’s commitment to taking extra measures to reposition the sector and reclaim its position as the country’s top earner as was in the past. He pointed out that, in light of the contribution tourism has made to the country’s economy and livelihoods of citizens, his administration has put in place incentives to boost the sector.
Measures taken by the government include VAT exemption for Park Fees, Reduction in park entry fees from $90 t0 $60 and VAT exemption for Commission of the Tour Operators.
The government has also introduced Charter Incentive Programme and Air Passengers subsidy ($30 rebates per passenger), Tourism Recovery Fund which was allocated over Sh5 billion in the last 3 years and establishment of a tourism promotion fund among others.
The President expressed gratitude that the measures taken are now bearing fruit as the sector is now on the recovery path. “And more encouraging, its future outlook is, indeed, bright as evidenced by opening of this new hotel facility,” Uhuru said.
While opening the Lazizi Premier, the first luxurious hotel at the Jomo Kenyatta International Hotel, Uhuru said the investment is a clear sign that the tourism sector is rebounding.
He challenged government functionaries to facilitate the private sector to create more jobs by providing the necessary basic infrastructure such as roads, electricity and water. “Ours is to create infrastructure, we should make sure that the airport connects with the railway and the port to create the airport city,” he said.
“We are supposed to be facilitators and not impediments of development,” he added.
Others who spoke were Tourism CS Najib Balala, AMS properties chair Anil Samani, Hass Petroleum and White Lotus Group chair Abdi Nassir and Lazizi Premier’s Kiran Patel, among others.
Source: The star
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