Conservation and sustainability at heart of Kenya’s offering

Kenyan tourism in 2019 saw improvement both in terms of the number of tourist arrivals in the country and also the revenue the country received. We asked the Hon. Najib Balala EGH – Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife – Kenya to tell us a little more.

The number of tourists grew by 1.167% from the previous year while revenues increased by about 4% which was significant improvement.

The tourists came in for different reasons but key among them was for leisure purposes. The destination is rich in leisure products including a beautiful landscape, nice weather and wildlife and it is therefore no surprise that most people prefer the destination to spend their holidays.

What are your key themes at the moment?
Conservation and sustainability. The world is increasingly embracing sustainability in business. Kenya’s tourism sector, a major contributor to the economy of the country, is focusing and identifying viable ways of making the tourism business sustainable.

© Kenya Tourism Board

Beach cleaning programmes and regulating beach activities aim to improve on the beach product, one of the key products that Kenya is known for. Already, hotels and government agencies have continuous beach cleaning exercises to make the beach more welcoming for water sports.

Major threats to wildlife include habitat destruction / degradation / fragmentation, overexploitation, poaching, pollution and climate change. The National Wildlife Strategy 2030 highlights Sustainability and Governance as one of the key pillars of focus. This is to ensure the coordination, effective implementation and sustainability of wildlife conservation in Kenya.

How is tourism infrastructure evolving in Kenya? What’s new?
Kenya has made great milestones in terms of sustainable infrastructural development, such as the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and major roads and airports. There is already an expansion plan for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport which is the main entry point to the country. Improved transport means that more destinations will be more opened up and this goes a long way in growing not only the popular but also the less explored destinations within the country.

Photo: Hon. Najib Balala EGH, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife, Kenya