The Tourism Fund Journey into the Future

Catering Levy Trustees - 1972

In the years immediately after independence, Kenya identified tourism as a key pillar for the country’s socio-economic development. The Government integrated tourism in the emerging development blue print, Seasonal Paper No. 10 of 1969. In a joint study by the Governments of Kenya and Switzerland, it was noted that the development of human capacity was vital to the emerging sector. The idea of establishing a national tourism training institution was mooted. This idea culminated into the development of Kenya Utalii College, a world class centre of excellence.

The question was how the new training institution would be sustained. In response, in 1972 the Hotels and Restaurants Act, Cap 494, Laws of Kenya (since repealed) was enacted. The legislation established Catering Levy Trustees. Trustees would collect a 2% training levy from hotels and restaurants and the funds would be used to finance training and operations at the new College.

Since inauguration in 1975 to date, the College has received substantial financing from the Trustees and has produced up to 50,000 students. The students are serving the industry here at home and abroad. Trustees have supported the College in the sum of Kenya Shillings six billion, four hundred million two hundred and eight four thousand three hundred and fifty five (Kshs.6, 400,284,355)only over the past four decades. From a paltry Kenya Shillings one million a year in the 70’s, the College now gets almost Kenya Shillings four hundred million a year from the Levy Fund.


In the intervening years, global tourism was growing rapidly.Competition from other countries saw Kenya’s position as a preferred safari and beach tourism destination being challenged. Another emerging challenge was the long-term sustenance of funding for tourism marketing. In addition, it became necessary to relook at how standards for testing skills in the industry would be addressed. To address these emerging issues, the Government amended the Hotels and Restaurants Act in 1997 to enhance the mandate of Catering Levy Trustees. Further, the name of Trustees was changed to Catering and Tourism Development Levy Trustees (CTDLT).

In the years, C.T.D.L.T discharged its statutory mandate as follows:-

  1. Collecting and administering the 2% training levy. By 2012, Trustees collected a total of Kenya Shilling fourteen billion, seven hundred and forty million, one hundred and ninety one thousand, eight hundred and sixty nine shillings (Kshs.14,740,191,869) only;
  2. Establishingand developing national standards for testing of skills required by the tourism industry. Trustees developed more than 1,700 industry standards, 14 curricula’s of which 2 modules are currently in use in training tour guides in various training institution and over 1000 tour guides trained all over the country. In addition 450 Training Institution were inspected out of which 89 were found qualified to train to international standards and accordingly have been certified. The renaming institutions have been granted various grace periods to upgrade;
  3. Trustees have funded the Kenya Tourist Board to promote Kenya as a tourist destination both locally and internationally in the tune of Kenya Shillings one billion, eight hundred and five million, five hundred and ninety two thousand six hundred and fifty(Kshs.1,805,592,650) only

Trustees have put in place measures to develop the second national tourism training College at Kilifi. The Government made a deliberate move to establish the second national tourism training institution at the Coast. This College would not only complement Kenya Utalii College training efforts but also specialize in training in new areas like cruise tourism, leisure and further introduce courses that target players who are already in the industry but may not have had formal training through the introduction of competency based training and refresher courses. The development of Ronald Ngala Utalii College in Kilifi is ongoing and the College should be ready in the next five years or so;

  1. In its operations, Trustees have employed 180 staff who are based in its offices at Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru and Nyeri;
  2. Trustees also initiated the construction of its office block along Valley Road. The Office Block should be completed by end of 2014; and
  3. In its endeavour to become a truly world class organization, Trustees put in place measures to incorporate excellence and performance based management in its structures. Trustees have, like all public institutions, participates in performance contracting. In addition, Trustees have also participated in external evaluation processes including the Kenya Institute of Management’s Company of the Year Award where it has won several awards competing with the private sector.

Tourism Fund - 2012

In line with the need to harmonize and regulate the Industry better, the Ministry of Tourism led stakeholders in coming up with the National Tourism Policy and the Tourism Act, Act 2011. The new legal and policy framework reviewed the old order established immediately after independence. The new order streamlined all tourism agencies under a single legislation and laid out the broad framework for the sector to achieve the Vision 2030 goal of making Kenya one of the top ten, long haultourist destination in the world offering high-end, diverse and distinctive visitor experience.

In the new Act, which came into operation on 1st September 2012, the Tourism Fund was formed to replace CTDLT. The Fund was established to finance the following:-

  1. Development of tourism products and services;
  2. Marketing of Kenya as a tourist destination through the Tourism Board;
  3. Activities of the Protection Service;
  4. Tourism research, tourism intelligence and the national tourism information management system;
  5. Activities of the Tourism sector safety, communication and crisis management centre;
  6. Training and capacity development activities; and Mobilize resources to support tourism related activities.

To achieve the foregoing, the Fund has been granted the mandate to,among others, perform the following functions:

  1. Collect and administer the Levy Fund;
  2. Establish, equip and control tourism and hospitality training institutions; and
  3. Establish a tourism training revolving fund.


The Tourism Fund projects that over the next few years, it will put in place structures to raise the country’s tourism profile and flag even higher. To achieve this noble goal, the Fund is putting in place a framework that will ensure the following:

  1. To achieve its statutory mandate;
  2. To generate more revenue to support the beneficiaries;
  3. The development of diverse tourism products that will give a unique experience to both local and international visitors.

This will see a strategic shift for the country to move away from concentrating on beach and safari tourism as has been the norm in the past half century;

  1. The development of a sustainable financing model for both short term and long term industry needs ranging from tourism training through institutional building all the way to product identification and subsequent development in collaboration with the parent Ministry and the Treasury;
  2. To evolve into a truly world class organization that applies excellence management and international best practice and staff development;
  3. To make tourism training accessible to all Kenyans through the Revolving Fund; and
  4. To give back to the community, especially the ones that support tourism, through integrated corporate social responsibility activities in key areas to be identified.