21 November 2006

Kenya: We Should Conserve Mara, Declares KTB

Nairobi — The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) will rally support to conserve the Mara ecosystem - recently declared the Seventh Wonder of the World - for posterity.

Managing Director, Dr Ongong'a Achieng' said trees will be planted in the Mau forest to conserve the Mara river, which is the lifeline of the Maasai Mara game reserve, and the local community will be educated on conservation. At the same time, KTB says it will take advantage of the tourism boom that is likely to come with the declaration to sell other attraction sites in the country.

The spectacular annual wildebeest migration in the Mara was last week named one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

"This is a great opportunity to showcase Kenyan attributes," said an upbeat Achieng'. The board's Corporate Affairs manager, Ms Rose Kwena, said the board would promote sports, culture and heritage tourism and let visitors discover the wonders of the world in these areas.

The North Rift tourist circuit, she said, would allow tourists to discover why it was the place with the highest concentration of athletics gold medalists in the world.

"There is nowhere else in the world apart from Kenya where golfers tee in the northern hemisphere and putt in the southern hemisphere," she said adding it is also among the wonders in sports.

Abercrombie and Kent managing director, Mr Peter Ngori said the honour should give the tour operators a chance to sell the rest of Kenya.

The company, which was involved in organisation and eventual naming of the migration as the seventh wonder of the world, said the Mara ecosystem should be shielded from over exploitation.

"This is a world heritage that we should protect for the future generation," said Ngori.

ABC News relied on Abercrombie and Kent during the process of identifying, selection and live shooting of the wildebeest migration in the Mara, for the Seventh Wonder of the World series.

Ngori said that the process, which lasted several months, was to be kept top secret so that it could be a surprise to the more than eight million viewers of ABC's Good Morning America.

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