Tourism minister Najib Balala has accused the ministry of Finance of frustrating efforts to market the country as a major tourist destination in already existing and new source markets by reducing funds to the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) from shs.800 million last year to shs.650 million this year.
Balala also accused Treasury of slashing the budgetary allocation for his ministry from shs.3 billion last year to shs.2.6 billion this year.
The minister said instead of reducing budgetary allocation to a key institution like the KTB in marketing of the country abroad and new source markets like Latin America and the Far East, the ministry of Finance should be in the forefront of helping his ministry to promote the country in order to hit the 2 million tourist target per annum instead of reducing its budgetary allocation while increasing that of other ministries.
He said although he appreciated increased funding of ministries of Roads and Energy and National Security an Provincial Administration, the minister for Finance should have factored his ministry in that category since it was a major foreign exchange earner for the country.
Balala was speaking at Mombasa when he officially inaugurated the opening of a Kenya Utalli College Mombasa campus.
The minister also urged hoteliers and coast residents to take advantage of the new Kenya Utalli College campus in the town which will offer hands on and practical training to those serving hoteliers and new entrants in the market.
Balala who was accompanied by chairman of the Kenya Utalli College board of governors Boniface Mghanga also announced that his ministry has been allocated shs.300 million to commence the construction of a state of the art second Kenya Utalli College on a 300 acres piece of land at Vipingo area in Kilifi district.
He added that another tranche of shs.300 million will be given to the ministry in the next financial year in 2012/2013 to continue the construction of the shs. 1 billion college.
He said the balance of shs.400 million required to complete the shs.1 billion college will be given by the Catering Levy Trustees.
Balala said Mombasa being the cradle of the tourism industry, it needs a state of the art institution to offer excellent training for hoteliers in order to promote the star rating of hotels in the area.
The Tourism minister also announced that Kenya Utalli College will open constituent colleges in Nakuru, Kisumu and Eldoret in order to improve service delivery in the Western Kenya tourist circuit.