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Kenya replaces top tourism official amid terrorism concerns

 Kenya’s tourisr Minister, Dan Mwanzo, has appointed a new Managing Director for the state-run Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to intensify the destination marketing, affected by terrorism concerns at the coastal city of Mombasa, officials said Thursday.

The ministry of tourism said in a statement here that former Managing Director, Murithi Ndegwa, completed his three-year-term at the helm of the marketing agency.

Kenya’s tourism industry record improved performance in terms of revenue receipts and arrivals with 2011 recording 1.7 million arrivals and Ksh 97.3 billion.

The Tourism minister said he appointed Jacinta Nzioka- Mbithi as the Acting Managing Director.

The newly-appointed official takes over amid growing tension in Mombasa, where a separatist group, the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC), has been calling for independence of the coast, leading to a drop in the tourism numbers.

“This is important especially at this time when the destination’s security perception is challenged by Kenya’s fight against terrorism through participation on the war against the Al Shaabab,” said Nzioka-Mbithi.

“Ahead of elections early next year, all Kenyans need to take personal responsibility to ensure that Kenya emerges as a peaceful country that will continue to attract potential travellers,” said Nzioka-Mbithi.

Nzioka-Mbithi is formerly international tourism destination marketer at the KTB and is one of the founder members of staff at the tourism marketing organisation.

The new appointee was the KTB Regional Marketing manager for Europe.

“At 37 years, Nzioka-Mbithi has grown in competence and capability and has risen through the ranks while participating in the development of Kenya’s tourism marketing strategies when the industry was faced with different challenges,” the minister said.

Italian Association of Travel Agents recently declared her as one of the top 10 Key personalities from around the world making a difference in Tourism in 2012.

Her passion for the tourism industry is evident and has seen her lead many teams of both KTB staff and industry players across the world through road shows, sales missions and exhibitions in selling Kenya as a preferred tourism destination.

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