Nairobi — Kenya is ready to host the forthcoming international ecotourism and sustainable tourism conference later this month. East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism Secretary Phyllis Kandie says the event will take place between September 24 and 27, 2013.
Over 300 participants from 38 countries are expected to attend the conference. Kandie says the event will draw impetus to 'destination Kenya' as a country that has come of age in promoting best practices in ecotourism.
"The conference will provide a unique opportunity for industry practitioners from around the world to experience first-hand how businesses and destinations can utilize tourism to support these sustainable development agenda both at the local and regional level," she said.
Of the many anticipated gains for Kenya from hosting the conference Kandie said, is the opportunity to showcase the diverse and progressive tourist products that make up a vibrant Tourism sector related to sustainable tourism, which is a key pillar of the country's Vision 2030 agenda and the new Tourism Act.
She noted there are over 100 private and community conserved areas and most are popular tourist destinations.
"It is a fact that over 70 percent of Kenya's wildlife lives in the private and community conserved areas generating a substantial income for land owners through tourism," Kandie said.
The conference has 50 confirmed speakers focusing on different aspects addressing ecotourism and sustainable tourism globally.
On the eve of the event, Kenya will also host about 700 conference delegates and stakeholders in the Kenya's Tourism Industry to mark Kenya Night.
Kenya Night seeks to celebrate historic Kenyan experience and help the delegates experience the best Kenyan delicacies, music, culture and heroes.
The night will also culminate in awarding organizations and Individuals that have demonstrated outstanding commitment towards promoting ecotourism and sustainable tourism best practices under the Eco-Warriors Awards.
Going forward, Kandie said more emphasis will be put in nature conservation, community development and improved livelihoods wildlife and tourists in remote areas.
Our intention is to encourage the development of unique products that brings in sustainability in the country it will also develop the Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) sector especially at the county level
Kandie urged players in the tourism industry to invest in environmental conservation and preservation of culture in their respective areas of operation.
"This can be achieved by through ensuring that all the players in the sector are involved in conservation of the environment and culture in the process of conducting their businesses," said Kandie who explained that a five-year strategic plan of the tourism sector will be launched in the coming weeks.