By Kennedy Kangethe
Deputy President William Ruto has said that the government will fast-track the Wildlife Bill to make the killing of the Big Five to a capital offence. Speaking at a meeting of stakeholders in the tourism industry in his office on Thursday, Ruto said he was concerned that wanton poaching in the country was decimating elephants, lions, buffalos, rhinos and leopards at an alarming rate.
“Operationalisation of the Wildlife Act to make killing of the Big Five a capital offence will be a deterrent as it will attract more severe penalties to the poachers. Once operational, the Act will attract life sentences for killing wildlife,” he said.
He said the government was committed to turning around the tourism industry adding it will increase the budget for marketing Kenya as a tourist destination to three times its present allocation.
“We need to increase the marketing budget to the Kenya Tourism Board from Sh740 million to about Sh3 billion so as to increase tourist arrivals from the current 1.6 million to three million tourists per year in the short term,” he added.
Ruto said this strategy will develop the country’s tourism industry to make it more competitive and help create more job opportunities for the youth.
This comes as Kenya was ranked second after South Africa in the Conference Tourism in Africa and 58th globally in the Country City rankings 2012 report by the International Congress and Convention Association.
Nairobi was ranked 2nd best after Cape Town and scored position 100 best city destination for international conferences up from 104th position it held in 2011. More....