The tourism sector in Kenya will largely be affected by the significant cuts in purchasing power for marketing activities and campaigns abroad announced during the 2012 budget statement reading.
The Finance Minister Njeru Githae widely ignored the fact that being an election year and the negative implication it has to the tourism sector, aggressive campaigns abroad must be conducted to clear the assumption of a possible eruption of post election violence during the election period in the country.
The escalation of 2007/ 2008 post election violence affected the performance of different sectors in the country mostly tourism consequently forcing a tragic down fall of the economy from 7.1 percent growth rate to 1.7 percent.
The recent security concerns in the country which include grenade attacks and abduction of tourists has seen the international community issue travel warnings to their citizens wishing to visit the country.
With the nightmare of the last elections still haunting the tourism sector and the wrath posed by the terror attacks, signs are that the sector is in for hard times ahead.
According to sales experts, the cutback of the budget for Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is an upheaval to the sector understanding the present predicaments facing the industry. The unfortunate fact is that the Government cannot see the implications of such a decision.
The date of the election is not yet set and there are also expectations of a run off in the presidential elections which may see marketers and tourists seek other destinations to visit if their safety is not guaranteed.
This has seen market players in the tourism industry criticize the Government for not empowering the sector to promote and mitigate the fears in the market and instead allocate less money at a time when the sector is facing a myriad challenges.
The tourism sector is identified as one of the six sectors of the economic pillar of Vision 2030, the country's economic blueprint which aims to drive the economy to achieve an annual growth rate of 10 percent.
With the reduction of the marketing funds, the industry placed second after remittance in foreign earnings will not realize the envisioned growth, among other things, trebling annual tourism earnings from Kshs.65.4 billion in 2007 to Kshs.200 billion by the end of year 2012 and increasing international tourist arrivals from 1.8 million in 2007 to 3 million arrivals.