A decision by the Salaries and Renumeration Committee has greatly affected Naivasha Hotels that depend on conferences.
The decision to reduce the amount of per diem paid to government officials visiting Naivasha has negatively affected the previously popular town with stakeholders saying that bookings have greatly gone down.
“Naivasha has always been very popular as a conference centre with government officials. However, bookings have gone down drastically since the SRC decided to lower the per diems for the officials,” said a Naivasha hotel owner.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the investor said although the SRC may have done that in good faith, the decision will affect the economy of the lake town drastically.
“Our clients are now preferring to hold their meetings in Mombasa where the per diem rates still remain high. We beg the government to reconsider this decision otherwise we’ll be forced to lay off a lot of staff,” he added.
According to a newspaper report early this week, the hoteliers claim that bookings have gone down from 85% to less than 50% in the last one month.
The same paper quoted former Naivasha MP John Mututho saying that he would Petition the National Assembly to have the decision reversed.
Earlier reports had indicated that Tourism Cabinet Minister Najib Balala had downgraded the town status but it has since emerged that Tourism was still booming.
The County Government of Nakuru had also released a statement saying it would seek audience with the CS to have him intervene and have Naivasha restored to its previous status.
“The directive has greatly affected conference businesses in Naivasha. We are asking the ministry to reinstate the status of Naivasha as it were,” Dr Peter Ketyenya the Nakuru County CEC for Trade and Tourism had said in the statement.
Naivasha town has for a long time been a popular venue for government summits.
A Nairobi County MCA who did not wish to be named says the per diem have gone down from Ksh. 14,000 to 10,000 per day. Transport allowance has gone down from 20,000 to just 5,000.
“We have always preferred Naivasha because it’s nearer Nairobi and we could shuttle to and from daily during the workshops. Now we would rather go to Mombasa,” said the Member of County Assembly. Previously, rates were the same for Naivasha, Mombasa and Kisumu.