Some of the Chinese tourists visiting Tree Tops hotel in Nyeri County on Tuesday.Photo/Wambugu Kanyi
Firms cry foul over infl ux of Chinese guides
Tour operators and guides want the government to step in and regulate the sector, complaining it has been invaded by the Chinese.
Last week, the operators locked horns with Chinese tour guides accusing them of taking over their jobs. This saw most of the Chinese tourists blocked from accessing the Masai Mara game reserve.
Kenya Association of Tour Operators Chief executive Fred Kaigwa said their main contention is an increase in unlicensed operators.
“The outcry is about unlicensed operators coming into the market. This is a lapse in the part of regulations,” Kaigwa said.
He said KATO has taken up the matter with the Tourism Regulatory Authority and management of various parks. The association wants parks to demand for a driver guide licence before any entries.
“We call for stringent enforcement of the regulations, if licensed, then we have no problem with the foreign tour guides,” Kaigwa said.
Kenya Association of Travel Agents chief executive Nicanor Sabula said the relevant licensing bodies should step in to protect local operators from the Chinese infiltration.
“As KATA, we have no problem with investors setting up in the country but this should not be at the expense of locals who have been struggling to sustain their businesses,” Sabula said.
Operators in Malindi have also raised concern that Chinese owned hotels take all the fish from the market hence causing a shortage.
Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohammed Hersi said it is unfortunate that the country has opened its doors too wide.
The federation estimates that Kenya receives 60,000 Chinese tourist annually.
Ministry of Tourism spokesperson Mulei Muia said the complaints if received will be passed over to the relevant agencies.