12 August 2018

Kenya's Government Banks On Wildebeest Migration to Boost Tourist Arrivals

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala has launched a campaign seeking to promote the wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara.

The campaign seeks to position Kenya as a home of two naturally iconic and spectacular tourism attractions.

The campaign is expected to promote the wildebeest migration in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Narok County and the humpback whale migration in Watamu Beach, Kilifi County.

Speaking during the launch, the CS noted that the annual wildebeest migration remains one of Kenya's most spectacular tourism attractions.

"Alongside the wildebeest migration, we have the annual migration of humpback whales from the Antarctica into the East African coast. Kenya is indeed the home of the twin migration of the wildebeest and the humpback whales." He added.

As part of the campaign, the Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife, through the Kenya Tourism Board, is working with well-known wildlife photographers to showcase the natural wonder of the twin migration along with Kenya's authentic and diverse tourism product offering.

The Tourism and Wildlife CS said his ministry is currently formulating a detailed tourism development strategy for the Maasai Mara, which will include a policy on standards of vehicles permitted to access the reserve, vehicle capacity limits during various seasons of the year, as well as a Sustainability Strategy for the reserve.

"The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is committed and steadfast in its efforts to improve management of Maasai Mara in order to enhance the visitor experience for tourists coming into the reserve. We believe that Maasai Mara has the potential to attain the status of a World Heritage Site." CS Balala said.

Kenya is home to seven (7) world heritage sites that include Lamu Old Town, Fort Jesus in Mombasa, the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests, Mount Kenya National Park and natural forest, the Kenya Lake system in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Turkana National Parks and most recently, the Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site in Migori County.

In 2017, Maasai Mara National Reserve was voted Africa's leading national park during the 2017 World Travel Awards.

The Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary also announced that Kenya's tourism industry is on a steady growth path, adding that hotels within Maasai Mara are currently fully occupied.

"We anticipate the tourism peak season will see record visitor numbers both at the Maasai Mara and at the Coast. Most hotels in the Mara are recording 98 percent occupancy levels. We urge tourists visiting the Coast to extend their tour to Watamu where they will witness the ongoing migration of humpback whales along the Coast." He noted.

Tourist arrivals into Kenya's Coastal region between 1stJuly 2017 to 30thJune 2018 rose by double digit levels over the previous financial year to boost total tourist arrivals into Kenya by 6.8% to 1,488,370 up from1,393,568 in 2016/17.

By the close of the 2017/2018 financial year, domestic bed nights stood at 3.67 million bed nights compared to 3.64 million in 2016/17, illustrating a growth of 1.1%.

Improved security, continued confidence in the destination, establishment of modern transport infrastructure such as the Standard Gauge Railway, as well as the implementation of the Ksh. 1.2 billion Charter Incentive Programme at the Coast have greatly contributed to the continued improvement in the performance of Kenya's tourism sector, particularly at the Coast.

The entry of new airlines and resumption of flights by international airlines such as Air France, has further asserted Kenya as the preferred tourism destination.


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