With a concurrent poverty rate of 44 percent and a population of 44 million, Kenya has been the epicenter of mass migration in East Africa. Unfortunately, poor infrastructure, sanitation and absolute poverty have pervaded the country for many years. Even so, tourism in Kenya remains its crowning jewel as it is a microcosm of the country’s cultural and religious diversity.
The country is a haven for all manners of flora and fauna that have recently seen the advent of a new era of ecotourism. Over 62,800 visited Kenya in the month of May 2016 alone.
Kenya made headlines recently with a report by American-based luxury travel network Virtuso declaring that Kenya has topped the world in tourist bookings. This figure is also predicted to rise by a staggering 17 percent in the future.
As a result, tourism in Kenya has played a significant role in the 5.6 percent growth rate the country has experienced recently. Tourism has been a boon in Kenya as it has singularly contributed to 1.6 percent of this growth while bringing in employment opportunities.
Moreover, tourism has been a boon in Kenya because it has pumped more Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the country. This paves the way for more opportunities to enterprise and market. Daily Nation reported that Kenya experienced the highest exponential rise in FDI in both Africa and the Middle East.
Consequently, tourism has been a boon for Kenya as it is an integral aspect of this rise because of the investment power that it entails. The capital invested in Kenya’s infrastructure services is also a synergic endeavor that will bolster the tourism sector.
This has resulted in the growth of numerous safari businesses that have sprouted all over. The existence of rich biodiversity and diverse tribes in Kenya has helped these businesses flourish. The dawn of these industries can create great entrepreneurship opportunities for many communities.
The Kenyan Tourism Board (KTB) decided to expand into new markets in Asia to diversify its market. Eyeing the massive great potential of Kenya’s tourism sector, travel trade investors from the Middle East have agreed to invest in Kenya’s tourist sector in Kenya.
Additionally, the Sixth International Conference of African Development is being convened in Kenya, with the focus and objective to advance hotel and accommodation facilities significantly. Forty heads of states, 100 firms and Japanese delegations will discuss opportunities and incentives in Kenya with regard to the development for the further growth of tourism.
The appointment of Joseph Cherutoi as the head of The Tourism Fund and Tourism Finance Corporation is also essential to note, as it will lead the way for a new and successful era in tourism. However, with an influx of over 500,000 tourists to Kenya every year, the people feel that preservation is imperative to safeguard one of the major backbones of their country. Thus, the inception of the concept of ecotourism has ushered in a new dimension of tourism in Kenya.
Ecotourism has spearheaded this movement by involving community-based organizations (CBOs) that are run by the local people, corporate organizations and individuals to aid in initiating improvements and engaging in conservation to ensure a sustainable form of tourism development in Kenya. This has led to a higher propensity to enterprise among the people and has brought many communities together.
Tourism has been a boon for Kenya owing to the manifold opportunities that it will offer the country and the people. Its development is a good sign for the people, the country’s progression and equitable growth.
– Shivani Ekkanath