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Submitted by Babra on
Leadership is key in terms of providing the enabling environment for tourism; other necessary ingredients Kenya has in abundance: natural beauty and human capital. The gradual and relative erosion of tourism is evident not only when compared to other markets, but also if one looks at the loss of drivers like the film industry, which long ago gave up Kenya as a favoured location, and the loss of the Safari Rally from the WRC calendar. The latter occuring in 2002 despite Kenya's peaceful transition into the post Moi era - there is a clear link in this loss and leadership. Despite this Kenya hangs on to just enough tourism and a Brand to help balance the books. Meanwhile many Kenyan leaders are more interested in expanding parliament than their consituencies economic opportunities. Ultimately if the center continues to fail then the provinces will wrest more control of the tourism assets of the country. We have seen this tension clearly play out in the Masai Mara Game Reserve's various incarnations in the past 10 plus years. Althouh partly due to density, which the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) does a decent job of trying to control given the circumstances, the bulk of high end safari camps sit outside the national parks. It would be interesting to know whether the per capita benefit to communities is greater on group ranches/private land versus the benefit communities bordering national parks receive (indirectly) via revenues generated through the KWS. Kenya gets away with little growth because it is culturally, historically and geographically unique compared to other destinations in Africa - ironically, the fact that it knows this, is it's achilles heel. It must not take things for granted and leaders must allow Kenya's able entrepreneurs to drive growth and diversification in the sector. There are yet many corners of Kenya tourists, other than hardy overlanders like Wolfgang was, never make it to - this is due to infrastructure and security.