President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked French tourism stakeholders to help promote Kenya as a destination of choice for French tourists.
Uhuru said the stakeholders should work closely with the Tourism ministry to change the perception that Kenya is unsafe.
“Kenya is not only one of the most attractive tourist destinations but it is also safe and open to French tourists,” he assured French tourists.
France fell to 13th from 5th in the number of tourists visiting Kenya; Uhuru said it was important for the country to regain its position. France is the Kenya's 6th largest foreign investor.
Uhuru said his government has gone full-throttle in efforts to revive the tourism sector as it is vital to Kenya's economy.
He said Sh1.2 billion worth of incentives has been set aside for charter flights, which have resumed their previous frequency.
Other measures include waiving of visa fees for children under 16, reducing Kenya Wildlife Service park entry fees from $90 (Sh9,000) down to $60 (Sh6,000) and improving infrastructure countrywide.
The President, who is on a three-day state visit to France, said the government has also strengthened security by recruiting more officers and sending them to key tourism areas.
“We have also significantly improved surveillance. Other security measures such as street lighting and inter-agency cooperation have also been improved,” he said.
Uhuru spoke in Paris on Tuesday during a meeting with French tourism stakeholders led by Richard Soubielle, the Vice President of the French Association of Travel Agents.
Soubielle lauded Kenya for efforts to boost security saying this was the reason France lifted travel advisories against some locations.
He assured Uhuru of his association’s commitment to working with its Kenyan equivalent to re-invigorate campaigns to market Kenya in France.
“We are fully behind you in all efforts to encourage our clients to visit Kenya as their destination of choice,” he said.
Cabinet Secretaries Najib Balala (Tourism), Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs), and Kenyan Ambassador to France Salma Ahmed also attended the meeting.