As we strive to grow our tourism numbers its all about time we set up a clear policy for the elderly and retired people who live in Kenya and who would like to enjoy longer stays. Visa issues , exit , re-entry is a pain.
We don’t have to reinvent the wheel we simply need to adapt and adopt the successful MM2Home which is Malaysia’s policy to attract senior retired visitors from Europe and North America as they escape biting winter and also enjoy warm weather.
Well by default we were already doing it in Malindi and partly in Diani but it’s about time we formalized so that rules are clear and there is no ambiguity that leads to harassment and of course bribery. My good friend Roberto Marini a hotel investor in Malindi has been fighting for this for ages . I have decided to focus on it today in my Sunday thought.
How does it work?
- You must make a minimum fixed deposit in a Kenyan bank . This will help us grow our forex. Malaysia is $235,000. Ours can be $125,000
- Proof of minimum income per month . Malaysia is $9500. Ours can be $5000 or even slightly lower.
- Minimum length of stay. Malaysia is 3 months . Trust me they even want more time in Kenya so that should not be a problem.
- Application fee which will include 5 year multiple entry visa which means more income for the government in a formal way.
When you attract these senior citizens we will also attract their extended younger families like children and grandchildren. They get to come visits and in the process you help them discover Kenya which means guaranteed future clientele.
In the past Villas and cottages were demonized not anymore since Tourism Regulatory Authority TRA they now regulate villas and cottages that would now include Airbnbs and vacational rentals. The numbers of Airbnbs is growing across the country , I am sure they will be happy to be regulated and in the process pay their fair share of tax. That will eliminate any harassment by any authority.
Then these retires buy from local supermarkets, they employ locals as cooks some even employ chefs , gardening team, driver they also eat out in restaurants and even hotels and by and large they are also silent ambassadors for any destination.
It is a very simple win win system that requires virtually no investment but brings in semblance of law and order and most importantly it is a predictable system not dependent on any office holder say in immigration or local authority.
I am sure my bro Hon Owen Baya and Gov Gideon Mungaro Governor Kilifi would love to drive this . I am very sure our CS Tourism Hon Peninah Malonza will also embrace this .
How about ” Kenya My 2nd Home” programme .
As always I choose to remain an optimist
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