KITTY

Hoteliers urged to apply for tourism stimulus funds

Sh3 billion allocated by the national government to the sector

In Summary

•Sh1.8 billion is meant for the coast region with Sh1.2 billion going to other regions.

•According to tourism PS Safina Kwekwe, only a few hotels have applied for the money.

PS for Tourism Safina Kwekwe addresses the media at Swahil Beach Resort in Ukunda, Kwale on Friday, January 15, 2020.
TOURISM: PS for Tourism Safina Kwekwe addresses the media at Swahil Beach Resort in Ukunda, Kwale on Friday, January 15, 2020.
Image: SHABAN OMAR

Tourism Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe has urged hoteliers to apply for the tourism economic stimulus fund.

The government last year set aside Sh3 billion to help cushion tourism entities from the impact of Covid-19 which continues to ravage the economy, with travel and tourism  being the most hit sector in the country.

The funds are to be extended in form of soft loans, administered through the Tourism Finance Corporation(TFC).

The package is aimed at stimulating hotels' operations and enhance renovations as a way of reviving the sector.

Sh1.8 billion is targeted at the coast region, a leading holiday beach destination, with Sh1.2 billion going to other regions.

PS Kwekwe has however noted that only a few industry players have successfully  applied for the fund.

Application by hoteliers at the coast amounted to Sh1.5 billion. However, those who qualified only took Sh300 million.

"We still have a huge balance because very few qualified for the funds, " she said.

For instance in Kwale, home to the famous Diani Beach, has over 200 hotels but only two out of five successfully applicants received the funds.

In Taita Taveta  County, only four hotels successfully applied, Mombasa three and Kilifi one.

Kwekwe spoke at a Ukunda hotel on Friday during a tourism stakeholders sensitisation drive, on the funds. 

The PS urged sector players to go for the funds to help refurbish facilities ahead of the anticipated bounce back of the sector, as the globe warms up to the Covid-19 vaccines which will open up travel.

She noted some hotel owners wanted the money to settle debts and build other facilities, yet the funds were meant for hotels refurbishment and improvement of services.