11 December 2011

Kenya: Hidden Treasures to Boost Country's Tourism

Tourism is getting ready to mark Kenya's 50th independence anniversary in style by putting in place a campaign to identify 50 unique attractions in the country.

The project, dubbed 50 Treasures of Kenya, is expected to be complete by 2013, in time for the 50th independence celebrations.

Kenya attained independence on December 12, 1963, from Britain and will be marking its first jubilee in two years.

The project will be run by the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust in partnership with The Kenya Tourist Board, the Kenya Wildlife Service, and the National Museums of Kenya.

Speaking to Smart Company, the honorary ambassador of tourism for Kenya, Mr Hartmut Fiebig, who is behind the project, said the project will assist in "adding on to our tourist menu the untapped destinations".

Mr Fiebig chairs the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust. "The idea is to connect the celebration of Kenya's 50th anniversary with each treasure representing a year of independence," he said.

Mr Fiebig, a German, has worked as a journalist and photographer in Kenya for 21 years.

"The aim is to promote domestic tourism, making Kenyans aware of more attractions within their country and attracting more international visitors and investors to Kenya."

KTB has been running a number of promotions to spur domestic tourism and the new initiative is expected to feed into this.

In October, KTB ran an online campaign titled: "10 places to visit in your lifetime," in addition to travel diaries and various expo in parts of the country.

In 2006, Mr Fiebig was declared an honorary ambassador of tourism for Kenya by former Tourism minister Morris Dzoro for his contribution in promoting tourism.

"Only an estimated 30 per cent of Kenya's tourist potential is marketed, leaving a large untapped resource," Mr Fiebig said.

Kenyans and other stakeholders will be required to name their favourite sites and attractions.

These will be entered on the list of proposed treasures, from which the final set will be chosen and proclaimed by an official committee early next year.

"Beyond the traditional beach and wildlife attractions, Kenya has unexploited sites, with each part of the country boasting something unparalleled," Mr Fiebig said.

This is expected to boost tourism, whose earnings increased by 11 per cent in the first 10 months of this year compared to last year.

The number of tourist arrivals also went up 16 per cent, to one million, compared with 896,000 in the 10 months to October 2010.

The sector recorded Sh81.6 billion in revenue over the period, up from Sh73.4 billion recorded in 2010.

Although tourism earnings has been on the rise for the first 10 months of 2011, reports on the abduction of tourists by Somali militias and the mission of the Kenya military in Somalia in efforts to tame the Al-Shabaab terror group have slowed down the flow.

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