Nakuru County has appealed a decision by the national government to downgrade Naivasha's rating as a tourism and conferencing destination.
Previously, Naivasha enjoyed equal ratings as Kisumu and Mombasa and the new directive has seen tourists, government institutions and corporates keep off Naivasha.
Nakuru CEC for tourism, trade,industry and marketing Peter Ketyenya said bookings have declined by 50 per cent, hurting the region economically.
Ketyenya said his office has written to the Ministry of Tourism and is waiting for a response on the matter.
“The directive has greatly affected conference businesses in Naivasha. We are asking the ministry to reinstate the status of Naivasha as it was,” Ketyenya said.
Nakuru Tourism Association chairman David Mwangi said Nakuru County, and specifically Naivasha town, should have the same rating as Kisumu and Mombasa. They spoke in Nakuru Town, at a meeting with Nakuru Tourism Association members. Ketyenya said the per diem issue had seen government workers move their conferences to other destinations.
Ketyenya questioned the rationale to lower the status of the town which had over 100 high quality hotels.
Hoteliers in Naivasha have cried foul saying hundreds of workers faced the sack as bookings mainly from government workers and NGOs had dropped sharply.
They said that two years ago they were operating at 85 per cent but this has dropped to 25 per cent, leading to major losses.
During the period, the per diem for government workers was same as for those attending workshops in Nairobi, Naivasha Kisumu and Mombasa, with hotels enjoying full capacity bookings.
Former Naivasha MP John Mututho was the first to fire the salvo accusing the CS of Tourism Najib Balala of using his position to downgrade the status of Naivasha town.
Ketyenya said the county will hold the World Tourism Day celebrations on September 27 at the Lake Nakuru National Park.
"The event which will have more than 50 exhibitors from different sectors will be aimed at boosting tourism sector. During the celebrations, there will be a food fest which hoteliers will use to exhibit their food stuffs," said Mwangi.