Sustainable Tourism must be the by-word for Destination Laikipia

The group of talented Kenyan photographers, videographers, film makers and bloggers are joined by John Kin’gori (LTA – extreme right) and Paul Kimirilaiyanta (Laikipia County’s Tourism Officer 2nd in right) (through ProKraft Africa)

Laikipia’s Governor, H.E Nderitu Muriithi is going full steam ahead to craft Destination Laikipia. According to his manifesto, the Governor commits to making Laikipia a leading wildlife tourism destination, preferred choice for establishing holiday homes, preferred weekend rest and relaxation destination, and preferred conferencing destination.

The CEC of Trade, Tourism and Cooperative Development – Nicholas Biwott Tirop, is working closely with the Laikipia Tourism Association (established by LWF’s Membership) in order to support this commitment.

The Laikipia Challenge

We have already started to witness the dedication from the County in support of Laikipia’s tourism sector through events such as the Laikipia Challenge being spear- headed by #SemaLaikipia – a subsidiary of the Destination Laikipia brand. Scheduled to take place on 25th November, the Laikipia Challenge represents the first of many events aimed at inviting tourists back into the county. The Laikipia Challenge is unique in that it has cleverly intertwined community engagement with an amateur off road challenge from Nanyuki through to Luonyiek. Participants will be visiting local communities along the way with the aim of experiencing Laikipia like they have never experienced it before.

For many Tourism operators in Laikipia, the latter part of 2016 and most of 2017 has been punishing on businesses. Local communities too have felt the brunt of the tourism slow-down as many businesses cannot engage communities with no visitors walking through their doors. Insecurity and skewed perceptions have seen dwindling numbers of tourists (mostly international) into the county, largely affecting ecotourism proprietors, as well as the County’s economy.

The LTA

To help tackle this, the Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) and Destination Laikipia are currently leading a group of talented Kenyan photographers, videographers, film makers and bloggers (through ProKraft Africa) across the Laikipian landscape, with the objective of collating content that will support the marketing and branding of DL. These same platforms will make it much easier for travellers and investors in planning their Laikipia experience. But all this will be extremely hard to actualise without the dedicated engagement of private and public stakeholders. To plan way forward, the LTA and DL through the Laikipia County Government have organised a Laikipia Tourism Engagement Forum scheduled to take place on 24th November at Sportsmans Arms from 9am.

County Sustainable Tourism Legislation and Development

We are still very hopeful that Kenya’s first county Tourism Bill, prepared by a County Task Force, and recommended by the County Executive Committee, will be reviewed in order to ratify the Bill. The Bill provides the framework for sustainable tourism development in the County, and calls for an inter-departmental body to coordinate tourism development among County Government departments. It also makes provision for a Public-Private County Tourism Board and adoption of the 10- Year Sustainable Tourism Master Plan.

It is now almost 3 years since we started this process in support of sustainable tourism development in Laikipia County. With a new County team in place and renewed energy from the sector, this is bound to happen in the near future.

To apply for membership into the LTA or enquiries on the work being carried out by the Association, please contact John Kin’gori (Secretary) or Wangari Wachira (Chair) on: tourismlaikipia@laikipia.org

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