Home' Travel News : March 2014 Contents 34 travel news March 2014
March 2014 travel news 35
Last month's column about the price of
house rentals, warm beers and poor service
in Watamu has, as you might have seen
from the Letters section on page 10, drawn
a fair amount of criticism from the folk of
Watamu. Two letters are published, I hear
what the writers are saying, and respond
accordingly. I have every sympathy.
Watamu is my home away from home; I
love it, my family loves it – the best beach
in the whole wide world, the best people,
the best gelataria, it has almost the best of
everything I need in my world. But it’s not
perfect and you’ll forgive me for wanting it
What I spoke of were niggles, that needed
to be addressed, in my humble opinion.
Well, I suppose warm beer and slow
service are niggles, perhaps not so with
expensive in-season house rentals.
This magazine, in all its iterations, has
always championed Kenya tourism without
wavering one little bit. We always try to
show the bright side - even the right side.
Let’s face it, who wants to read a negatively
written article? There are enough of those
in the dailies. Writing negatively and being
interesting at the same time is an art
form, rare in any part of this world of ours
There used to be wonderful critics, to me
the art form I refer to above, in a lot of the
world’s premier newspapers, but this is
sadly a dying art. They had the knack when
reviewing theatre, restaurants, books, etc,
of drawing you in with brilliant prose but
always with a slight twist of lemon, if you
get my drift. Over time you felt at one with
them, they didn’t have to say it, you said it
for them – you felt comfortable with them
like a pair of old slippers.
We have oft been accused over the years
of publishing nothing but good, that we
are not objective enough and that it is
impossible that everything we publish is
good to great. My answer has always been
that we only publish the good; if it’s bad it
has no place in this magazine of ours.
End of story.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
seems to take one step forward and two
backward. The new Terminal 4 was to
open in August; evidently that was political
rhetoric. Instead the reality is the end of
this year. The fire-gutted Arrivals building is
another issue that is taking time to resolve,
issues ranging from whose fault it was (this
has already been revealed, but not proven)
to the settlement of the insurance claim,
to approving the plans for the building
replacements. Then the building, then the
opening – in reality a couple of years away,
I would have thought.
The present International Arrivals on the
ground floor of the almost new multi-storey
car park, works well most of the time – and
its transformation from a parking lot into
an acceptable customs and immigration
facility amazed most.
I’m told security at the airport entrance
for vehicles has been streamlined with
more lanes and more security personnel.
From personal experience it seems to be
working well, but at peak times I’d be wary.
It always amazes me that these self-same
security personnel always examine my
vehicle's insurance disc rather than look for
anything dodgy. Am I missing something?
Tourism, if truth be told is not doing well,
although I’m told reliably that domestic
tourism – that’s when you and I, we
residents of Kenya, travel within our own
country, is doing well. The rub here is
that accommodation providers have to
seriously discount their product, which
does not make the bottom line happy. But
it does keep people employed and the
cash flow is normally positive.
Friends whose tourism businesses rely
heavily on international clients, when
asked in years gone by – be they good
or bad years, about how their businesses
were doing would always say something
I note a script change of late – and sad as
it is, reality is taking a hold. ‘We were down
34% from last year, and last year wasn’t
a good year,’ said a friend who operates
in the safari sector. This, my friends, was
December 2013 in our world famous Masai
Mara. January 2014 was down 38% year-
The scariest part of all of this is that we
have a moribund tourist board, which
alternatively is being rolled into Brand Kenya
then in the blink of any eye Brand Kenya is
being rolled into it, which has no funds, no
collateral material and a demoralised staff.
And who can blame them, it doesn’t even
have a Board of Directors.
When Kenya and its greater tourism
indusrty most needs a strong efficient
tourist board, it has none of the above.
Losing our tourist board is not an option
that finds any favour in the very industry
that it was set up to serve.
I sympathise with government from the
perspective that our tourist board has not
delivered over many years, but throwing
the baby out with the bath water is not a
Someone needs to get their act together –
Links Archive February 2014 April 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page