July, 2015

As we settle for the 2nd half of 2015, it gives me great pleasure on behalf of the entire KAHC fraternity, to announce the end of a very successful Symposium 2015.

Before sharing the highlights of the symposium which took place two weeks ago, let us first start by thanking our sponsors who always come through in good and bad times. This year, the sponsors’ support was overwhelming considering the challenges that the industry faced from mid May 2014.

We would like to thank the following:-

·       Tourism Fund

·       Equity Bank

·       The Coca Cola Company

·       Safaricom Business

·       Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC)

·       East African Breweries Ltd (EABL)

·       Kenya Tourism Board (KTB)

·       International Hotel and Tourism Institute (IHTI)

·       Kenya Utalii College

·       Tourism Finance Corporation

Once again, a big thank you to our sponsors. We could not have done it without you.

The Symposium whose them was “Tourism Recovery-The Way Forward”, started in its usual “high spirit” fashion with the Sarova Whitesands traditional dancers welcoming delegates on Thursday morning. We then kicked off with a welcome address by National Chairman JS Vohra who appealed for a united front in addressing tourism recovery matters considering the recent review of the UK Travel Advisory. The Chairman also introduced the new board and congratulated the newly elected officials of Nairobi, Coast, Rift Valley and Mount Kenya regions.

We then moved on to our Chief Guest, CS Phyllis Kandie who went on to highlight the Ministry’s plans for recovery and made an appeal to Private Sector to have some level of trust in the Ministry as we were all pulling together in the recovery process.

After the break, the symposium listened to KTB MD Muriithi Ndegwa who presented a recovery work plan and was immediately followed by the Director General of the Tourism Regulatory Authority with a very interesting insight regarding the role of the regulator in tourism.

This was followed by a presentation by Joseph Cherutoi, the Acting MD of the Tourism Fund and thereafter, a presentation by guest speaker Vincent Wood from Laureate Hospitality Education all the way from Switzerland.

The afternoon started with a presentation by the Northern Corridor initiative and was made by our visitors from Rwanda. This mainly addressed the single tourist visa for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda coupled with the use of national ID’s to travel within the three countries.

We then heard a very powerful message from Dr. Julius Kipng’etich, the Chief Operating Officer of Equity Bank. Dr. Kip had two presentations in one as he was wearing his hat as a tourism recovery task force member as well as being one of the main sponsors of the event. Mr. Muoki of KICC then took us through the role of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) in the development of tourism.

Day one was wrapped up by the ever interesting Dr. Wale Akinyemi with one of the most unforgettable presentations regarding our individual roles in the recovery process.

Our evening cocktail served up its usual recipes of surprises when yours truly was called upon to give a rendition of Malaika backed by the National Chairman and accompanied by Dr. Wale. Ambassador Mwakai Sio also got into the action with his own arrangement of Jambo Bwana!..  The fun had just begun…

Day two started slowly as always with only a handful making it in time for morning session by Hezron Njuguna of ILO (South Africa). His presentation covered Social Dialogue and Workplace Issues in Tourism. Those who walked in after he started were calling for a rewind but it was too late.. Please limit your day one indulgences next year…

We than moved to a panel discussion by the six Coast County representatives led by Hon Joab Tumbo (CEC Tourism Mombasa), accompanied by Adam Sheikh (CEC Tourism Kwale) and others from Kilifi, Lamu, Tana River and Taita Taveta. This discussion focused mainly on the initiatives by the counties under our BAF (Business Advocacy Fund) programmes i.e. beach management and Alcoholic Control Act among others.

After the break, the National Chairman welcomed our Chief Guest for the day, HE Hassan Joho, the Mombasa County Governor who was accompanied by the Deputy Governor, HE Hazel Katana and the Chairman of the newly formed Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani initiative, Dr. Kingi. Also joining the party was the British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Turner. Dr. Kingi, Dr. Turner and HE Joho all shared some very positive thoughts with due regard to tourism recovery.

After lunch, KAHC members congregated for the 68thth AGM where Mr. JS Vohra and Wasike Wasike were re-elected to their positions of National Chairman and National Vice Chairman, respectively. I’m sure you will all join us in congratulating the two gentlemen as they endeavor to take the tourism industry through a very tough recovery process.

The fun kicked to a higher gear during the final gala dinner where our friends from Rwanda made a presentation of some of their countries attraction. After all the good food our National Vice Chairman, Wasike Wasike opened the dance and surprised all who thought that he couldn’t do the jig!....

Our programme finally came to an end with our annual charity golf tournament at Nyali Golf Club where our Cabinet Secretary joined us for a game of golf and also graced the prize giving dinner as the Chief Guest. Winners walked away with various prizes including a flat screen TV, music system, Kitchen Appliances and single malt whiskeys courtesy of EABL.

At this juncture, we would like to thank the Sarova Whitesands team for being superb hosts during the time of the symposium. We also thank our members from the North Coast for providing accommodation and our partner African Quest for providing us with transport at no charge.

Finally, we thank all our members for the very active participation during the symposium. There was hardly any space to sit in the conference room for the entire period of the symposium… Well done!

A lot was discussed and a lot of resolutions made. The challenge is now on us to implement the recovery process.

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