(eTN ) – Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala has appointed Jake Grieves-Cook as the chairman for of the Kenya Tourist Board (KTF) for a second term of office.
Grieves-Cook founded the Eco-Tourism Society of Kenya in the ‘90s, which he chaired for some years, before being elected as chairman of the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF), the Kenyan tourism private sector apex body, counterpart to the Uganda Tourism Association and the Tourism Confederation of Tanzania.
He served as KTB chairman for three years previously and with him at the helm Kenya made substantial progress in tourism developments and visitors arrivals, which topped 2 million last year.
The post-election violence, however, swept away much of the achievements made in recent years and Jake will need all his considerable skills and connections across the world to restore Kenya tourism to its former glory.
During the months of January, February and March Jake also served as official spokesperson for KTF and personally ensured that accurate and timely reports on the real situation on the ground reached the relevant media houses in Eastern Africa and the rest of the world on a daily basis and that any misreporting was promptly responded to with correct facts.
Not one tourist did come to harm over those fateful months in Kenya which will help rebuild the tourism industry in coming months. This was largely due to the tremendous efforts of KTF’s emergency response team, in conjunction with the country’s security forces, which kept taps on all developments and advised tour and safari operators as well as lodges, resorts and hotels on the changing situations.
In an exclusive interview with eTN, Grieves-Cook said: “It will be an honour to take on the position of KTB Chairman again and to work closely with the government and other stakeholders for the recovery of our tourism industry which was hard hit as a result of the civil unrest and violence during the recent post-election crisis.”
According to him, Kenya’s new “Grand Coalition” government has stated that its key priorities are re-housing the internally displaced Kenyans currently living in refugee camps; ensuring that the economy gets back on track to achieve the projected rates of growth and to create jobs, particularly for unemployed youth; as well as focusing attention on agriculture at a time when food prices have recently increased and there are concerns over possible short-term food shortages. “If we can achieve the recovery of tourism as soon as possible then this will greatly assist in boosting the economy and creating thousands of additional jobs and livelihoods for Kenyans.”
“We will need to focus on an immediate intensive marketing campaign in those of our key source markets which have the capacity quickly to produce increasing tourist arrivals for our hotels in the second half of this year,” he added. “This means an emphasis on advertising in the international media and joint promotions with the overseas travel trade as well as offering incentives to encourage the support of airlines and major international tour operators.”
Grieves-Cook has a long distinguished career in the Kenyan tourism industry, spanning over three and half decades, during which he served in top management positions before starting his own company, Gamewatchers Kenya and Porini Safari Camps.