The Kenya government came up with a number of strategies last year aimed at promoting the tourism industry. This was in response to declining trend in the performance of the tourism sector. The strategies are;
- All corporate and business entities were to pay vacation expenses for their staff who wish to go for holidays in the country and deduct such expenditures from their institution taxes.
- All air ticketing services supplied by travel agencies were exempted from the VAT Act, in 2013 to create employment and demand for sir transport services. All park fees that were at $90 for non-residents and sh1,200 for residents were reduced to $80 and sh1,000 respectively.
- Government revoked the National Treasury Circular restricting the public service from holding conferences and other meetings in private hotels. This was to ensure private sector tourism players equally enjoy the participation of public sector.
- Budgetary resources earmarked for foreign travel by the National Government were reallocated to domestic travel in the supplementary budget 2014/15. Similarly, the County Governments were urged to reallocate some foreign travel budgets to domestic travels in order to spur growth of domestic tourism and sustain employment.
- The landing charges were reduced by 40 percent in Moi International Airport and Malindi Airport. Government also allocated resources to expand Malindi Airport to international standards to allow for larger commercial aircrafts to land.
- Government directed all outstanding income tax related refund owed to the tourism industry players to be paid out by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) promptly.
These strategies were published in the Economic Survey 2015.
It will be interested to get figures from industry insiders on the uptake of the incentives. Specifically, the payment of holidays by employers and then deducted from institutional taxes is something KRA should publish.