Government to revamp tourist sites, says CS Balala » Capital News

NAIVASHA, Kenya, May 8 – The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is exploring ways to revamp and increase tourism opportunities in many of the country’s national parks and game reserves to attract more local and foreign tourists.

Speaking when he and his team went hiking at Mount Longonot National Park in Naivasha on Saturday, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said Mount Longonot, for example, has a lot of potential untapped tourism which has not been exploited to the optimum to stimulate local and foreign tourism growth in the park.

“There are many camping and picnic sites here that have not been fully exploited,” Balala said, adding that a zipline across the crater, a restaurant and a cable car like the one found at a tourist facility in Cape Town in South Africa would attract more tourism to the park.

He revealed that their trek to Mount Longonot was in preparation for the trek to Mount Kenya next Friday as part of fundraising events to revamp Mount Kenya National Park which he said also has high untapped potential. .

Balala will be joined in the hike by several government and public sector dignitaries who will also be sponsoring the hike and the fundraiser.

During the Covid-19 period, the tourism sector has been hit hard and is just rising from the ashes and things are looking up.

The CS revealed that Mt. Longonot received 60,000 visitors after the Covid-19 period and has so far received 17,000 since the start of the which indicates by the end of the year it could exceed the 60,000 visitors.

Balala, who was accompanied by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director General, Brigadier (Rtd), John Migui Waweru, revealed that Hells Gate National Park in Naivasha, now renamed Heaven’s Gate National Park, which had been closed to revamp security in the gorges of the park, would be reopened. in the coming months after the end of the rains.

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The CS said it was using the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to prepare escape routes, install alarm systems and improve general security in the ravines before they could be reopened.

In September 2019, flash floods killed six family members who were foreign tourists and their tour guide in the park. Earlier in 2012, at least six people died after being swept away by flash floods at Hell’s Gate in Naivasha. Indeed, when it rains in the upper Suswa region, water sometimes enters these gorges which are located downstream, thus flooding the canyons.

Mount Longonot is a stratovolcano located southeast of Lake Naivasha in the Great Rift Valley. Its last eruption is believed to be in the 1860s. Its name is derived from the Maasai word Oloonong’ot, which means “many buttressed mountains” or “steep ridges”.

Tourism is Kenya’s second largest foreign exchange earner, followed by agriculture.

The main tourist attractions are photo safaris through 19 national parks and game reserves in the country.

The tourism sector employs at least 1.1 million people in Kenya directly and indirectly, but at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic many people lost their jobs as the sector collapsed after local travel was restricted and international.

Statistics from the Tourism Research Institute show Kenya recorded a 34.76 per cent growth in international visitor arrivals in 2021, which stood at 870,465, compared to 567,848 in early 2020 of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Revenue from international arrivals to Kenya amounted to Sh146.5 or US$1.3 billion in 2021.

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