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Kenyans Tourists Raise Discrimination Concerns in Kenyan Hotels

Posted by Administrator on January 25, 2012

IMAGINE saving up for your dream holiday only to be told that you cannot be allowed in a hotel of your choice because of your skin colour or nationality.

Some local hotels have lately come under criticism for selectively picking clients on basis of colour thus hampering efforts to grow domestic tourism. Several Kenyans encountered racism over the festive season and thanks to social media, highlighted the experiences on twitter and facebook to express their outrage of being discriminated on in their own country. “Oh wait and there’s also a place in Diani where Africans are not allowed to swim,’’tweeted singer Talia Oyando last month.

Kenya Tourism Board, the organization responsible for marketing the destination notes that such incidents negate its efforts and thus urged people to report such happenings to them. “We have a complaints unit which handles problems that tourists may face and since January last year the domestic tourism department was moved from the Ministry to be under KTB so local tourists can come to us if they have problems,” commented KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala was more tough talking. “The minister has the powers to revoke a license of any establishment if its found to be operating or infringing on people’s constitutional rights or if it is found that the operations of the establishment are not good for the industry,” said Balala in an email response.

However not everyone is convinced on the ability of government to act on these cases noting that very many government officials turn a blind eye to such incidents. “I was ejected from the Billionaires Club in Malindi by a police officer who is part of the security team of the billionaire who owns that hotel. Even the highest provincial security office in that region is in on this and supports these people (the discriminating hoteliers) because they are ‘well looked after’,” complained Mpuri Aburi.

Aburi claims he had gone to the Billionaire Club in Malindi to have a meal with his wife and it did not take long before the owner of the hotel walked to his table and started shouting at him to leave. “He is the one who called the police, armed police mark you, to come remove me yet I had money to spend. It is not like I would enter such a place without enough money but they only allow Italians,” added Aburi.

On its part, the Billionaire Club in Malindi denied the claims and explained that it closes off the place to other visitors when they have celebrities booked into their premises. “Last week we had a group of people from Nairobi so it is impossible that someone accuses us of discrimination yet we have even African workers here and we intend to employ 400 more soon,” commented Sabina Vivaldi of the Billionaire Club.

Domestic tourism by basis of bed nights in hotels accounts for 20 per cent of all the profits made by the industry. Following the post election violence that crippled the tourism industry, the ministry embarked on growth of domestic tourism niche which is a resilient market in times of travel advisories or political instability.

Under the new Tourism Act, a tourism regulatory authority will be launched in July to streamline operations in the industry said Balala. “Things such as criteria for licencing, data bases for industry players , code of conduct for membership and associations within the industry will be streamlined with the new regulatory body,” Balala said.

Consumer Federation of Kenya reveals that most of the racism incidents are reported in Malindi and Diani. “We have received numerous complaints but we have not documented any evidence. The discrimination complaints are not just about being African but sometimes take the shape of barring some nationalities to enter specific hotels,” explained Secretary General Stephen Mutoro.

For instance in Malindi which is known to have many Italian tourists, there are some hotels that even if you are white, Mutoro adds, you will not be allowed in unless you are Italian. He notes that such establishments are usually the ones notorious for dubious activities like under age sex cases. Italy is one of the top five tourism source markets for Kenya. Between Jan and October last year, the number of Italian tourists into Kenya grew by 16.8 per cent representing 77,990 visitors. It was the third highest in terms of arrivals after the UK and US.

It is however not clear what Kenya Association of Tour Operators knows or does about this issue as they did not respond to the Star’s requests for comment. Tour operators are the ones that handle hotel bookings for most tourists. However, some of these operators have been accused of being rogue to the extent of conning clients money or switching them to hotels they did not desire.

KATO at the moment can only discipline rogue tour operators who are on its member list. But it is impossible for the organization to reign in on non members as it has no legal power to do so. “Currently , once a rogue tour operator has been identified, he is arrested and charged in a court of law. Operating licenses for such people are also withdrawn hence removed from the industry henceforth,” commented Minister Balala.

Though the issue of discrimination is threatening to derail plans to diversify tourism source markets and growth of domestic tourism, some local tourists are determined not to let such incidents dampen their travel and leisure plans. “It is our country and we have a right to respect and to travel wherever in this country we want.

The new constitution emphasises these rights and the same way a rich man can spend maybe Sh100 for a cup of tea at a high end hotel is the same way I will also spend my Sh100. Its not like they pay more for services rendered by these hotels,” remarked Aburi. His parting shot; “I will still go back to Malindi and to that same hotel where I was ejected because Kenya is not anyone’s colony anymore so these apartheid like behaviour must end. In fact this time round I will not only go with my wife, but with my kids too!”

Source: http://www.the-star.co.ke/business/features/58633-domestic-tourists-raise-discrimination-concerns

RELATED STORIES: SOCIAL MEDIA EXPOSES RACIST ATTITUDES IN KENYA

TALIA OYANDO FALLS VICTIM TO RACISM IN DIANI

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6 Responses to “Kenyans Tourists Raise Discrimination Concerns in Kenyan Hotels”

  1. Njoki said

    Hongeri for highlighting italian racism cases,i saw it coming,kenyans pass on these articles to friends and friends of friends.Down with Neo colonialism, we want to reclaim our country,our Heritage and our pride.
    Its time for all those who operated with pitiorities in our Country to Pack their boxes and leave, if they don’t want to respect us.We have had enough..!!!!!

    • Kenya_is_ours said

      AND THIS IS WHY I SAY THANK GOD FOR SONKO… ALL OF YOU WHO SAID THAT SONKO WAS A LAUGHING STOCK PLEASE THINK AGAIN COZ ONLY SONKO HAS THE GUTS AND AUDACITY TO GO TO THAT SO CALLED DANIA HOTEL AND BOOK THE WHOLE HOTEL FULL OF KENYANS… AND IF HE WAS TO BE DENIED, HE WOULD ROLL AROUND IN THE SAND ACT OUT AND GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS. I BELIEVE THAT THEY SHOULD FORCE THE HOTEL TO COMPLY WITH OUR RULES OR PACK UP AND F**K OFF BACK TO GERMANY.
      I’M EVEN SURPRISED AS TO WHY NOT THERE HAVEN’T BEEN MANY COMMENTS IN REGARDS TO THIS STORY.. WHERE ARE AKINA KTN, NTV, CITIZEN ETC TO COVER THIS STORY??????
      THESE SAME TOURISTS COME TO OUR COUNTRY TO COMMIT PEDOPHILIA AND GET AWAY WITH IT????
      PLEASE KENYAN’S, STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE COZ THE SECOND SLAVERY IS COMING SOON LIKE A TSUNAMI…TRUST ME ON THIS…
      LONG LIVE SONKO AND PLEASE SOMEONE CONTACT SONKO AND TELL HIM NIAJE?????

  2. Waswa Edwin said

    It seems as Kenyans our pride and respect is not accorded by some foreigners.We have been too lenient to such culprits in a sense that they think they can come misbehave and go without notice.I want Kenyans to stand up for Kenyans.Our country loves peace,unity and liberty.If someone is interested on stepping on our rights then he/she is making a terrible mistake they will live to remember the rest of their lives.Wakenya mpo?Tusimame na wenzetu katika safari hii ya ukombozi dhidi ya ubaguzi wa rangi.Mungu aibariki Kenya.

  3. ITHAVETHI said

    Tabia ya kuwabagua Wakenya ulianza tangu jadi. Wageni, ambao huruhusiwa na serikali kwa kisingizio kwamba wanaanzisha makampuni ili kuimalisha uchumi na kuboresha maisha ya wananchi. Na ni vyema kufanya hivyo. Kinachotukera ni pale tunapowaona wageni hasa Wahindi makarasinga, na wahindi wenzao wasiovaa vilemba, wakitutusi kwa lugha ya madharao huku walio mamlakani wakisinzia kuchukua hatua yoyote.
    Mfanyie muhindi kazi ya nyumbani, dukani, mlinda mlango na katika makampuni zao na utayapokea matusi kama, “veve iko jinga,” au ” veve
    akuna hata kidogo una aakili,” na mengine mengi ambayo haja ya kuyaandika hapa.

    Wageni wengine ambao wanayo desturi kama hio ni Wayahudi hasa wanaofanya ukulima wa maua kule wilayani Naivasha. Visa vya matamshi kama “Wewe unafanana na nugu” ni matukio ambayo tumeyashuhudia lakini ufanye nini uende wapi? Ni matumaini yangu ya kuwa katiba mpya ina kipengere kinachokataza raia yeyote yule kumbagua wenzake kwa misingi ya rangi, kimo na uwezo. Ni huzuni tunapowaona wageni wahindi na wazungu wakitubagua tuishipo kwao na waishipo kwetu.

  4. Philemon said

    so enraged! Next time I’m in Kenya nitaenda kwa hiyo Flavio hotel nione. wakinikataa, kortini mara hiyo. Stupid Italians and Kenya gov’t officials who get bribed to perpetrate apartheid in Kenya. We will close down your shitty hotels stupid germans or italians and all racists!!!!!!

  5. Johana Wanjikru Thuku said

    “We have a complaints unit which handles problems that tourists may face and since January last year the domestic tourism department was moved from the Ministry to be under KTB so local tourists can come to us if they have problems,” commented KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa.” And apparently it seems the board is taking care of all tourist except their own.This story is such a wake up call and I can’t even express the frusttrationa dn anguish of the above story which apparently is a reality. May I point out such kind of dicrimination have existed during colonialish and neo-colonialism. Take a drive on wealth neighbourhoods and count how many neighbourhoods will discriminate Kenyans in their own country. Hiking land prices and make it almost impossible for kenyans to co -exist with them. They politely employ all sorts of gimmicks to keep natives away and this is absolutely crazy. I’m a kenyan and a patriotic one and I demand respect from my fellow kenyans who would rather have all these ” other’s” for finacial gains. Kenyans have advanced and are free now to explore their country. They are paying, not begging. It is our counttry. Why is it we roll out a red carpet and shield the white skin upon arrival. How rediculous is that when in their countries they dont roll no red carpet but discriminate us . Kenya has major issues with the way natives are treated. I remember back then Indians were so harsh and mean and the only ones who would mindlessly and shamelessly call their hse helps “Mjinga kama mamaako”. They came and took all businesses and now decided to disrespect the natives. I say to the Kenyans, please if you respect your self, walk with your head held high and dont you let another colour try to make you feel inferior, for thats the only place they show off for in their own countries they are nobodies or commoners if I may call them. Yes, we love tourist, for development , but I can tour as well and should not be deprived of my rights for wherever I want to spend my hard earned money. They take all our lands , offering money and develop it agriculturally, minings and all and where do they take this produce.. back to where they came from. It’s about time Kenyans controlled all the sectors of development and not necessarily others mureithi Ndegwa as a starter needs to head to the tourist hotels and the ones mentioned above and take action there. No area should be secluded and protected to it’s own natives for whoever they are. I’m sure in their countries they do have beaches and all that but they have a safe haven to come and comit prostitution(for it’s cheap) without penalties. After all who is there to chase them for child support. If they came for the right reasons then they should mingle with natives . I’m heading to Kenya and I will spend a nite there and if dicriminated I will raise pure hell. Kenyans please let’s address this issue more aggressively , for the governments is not going to act without a demonstration or some tweeting or whichever means this issue can reach as many people.

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