CS Balala calls for unity among tourism associations

By Correspondent

The Travel and Tourism sector should unite and stand together in order to have a greater impact in the industry, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala has said.

Mr Balala urged the industry players including the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO) to combine forces and engage the government to make the industry more robust.

He was speaking during an office opening ceremony at the KATA offices at The Address in Westlands held on July 31.

“Our national tourism strategy blue print is to see as the government, a unity of purpose for the industry. All you guys (sic) in the industry should be united and stand together so that the government can hear you,” he said.

He further emphasized on the need to have licensing system that will help streamline travel agents and tour operators in the industry. This, he said, is a system that is operational in many countries across the world.

“My wish is to have a licensing system whereby one cannot belong to the trade without being a member of an association,” Mr Balala stated.

He lauded KATA for the bold move to invest in an office space terming them as a formidable association in the travel industry. “We are very proud of your achievement to own your own home,” he said.

Also speaking during the event, KATA Board Chairman Mr Mohammed Wanyoike narrated the over 10 years journey that the association took to own new premises highlighting the highs and lows of the journey.

“We are proud and happy to have honored the KATA founders who always hoped we would one day own our office. Arriving at a decision was not easy as there were many varying opinions regarding the best way to acquire an office for KATA.

The event was graced by members of the Association, board members, Chief Executive Mr Nicanor Sabula, industry partners among others.

KATA represents the interests of Travel Agents in Kenya and it is Kenya’s largest membership organisation for Travel Agents.