One of the economic pillars leading towards achieving the goals of Vision 2030 in Kenya is undoubtedly the tourism sector. Tourism is one of the six key sectors identified to drive the 10 per cent economic growth rate. By focusing on the tourism sector, Kenya anticipates to be a top ten long-haul tourist destination offering a high-end, diverse, and distinctive visitor experience.
The Ministry of Tourism prospects to initiate flagship projects aimed to develop Resort Cities nationwide that will in turn optimize the rich tourism potential, attract economic activities and investments within the regions.
The Vision stipulates the specific strategies for realizing the goals will involve:
a) An aggressive strategy to develop Resort Cities – this will entail establishment of ultra modern Resort facilities in designated areas and will this contribute positively in achieving higher tourism revenue yield by increasing the countries’ Gross Domestic Product(GDP).
b) Establish Premium safari parks and improving facilities in all under-utilized parks;
c) Creating new high value niche products (e.g. cultural,,ecosports and water-based tourism); revamping business-visitor offering by attracting high-end international hotel chains; and by investing in new conference facilities.
d) Better marketing of little-visited parks so as to bring more tourists to game parks that have not been receiving many visitors, and which are located in all parts of the country.
In this regard, Keriovalley, the heart of Great Rift Valley is among top places to visit in Kenya for its awe-inspiring views. The region boast of abundant tourism opportunities due to presence of a wide range of truly stunning scenic features.
These include the following just to mention a few :-
Torok Waterfalls flowing down the face of steep Elgeiyo escarpment,
Chebloch Gorge,on the valley floor water runs through a deep and narrow gorge with sheer rock walls.
Rimoi National Reserve,
Paragliding over Elgeiyo escarpment,
scenic panorama on meandering Roads and Viewpoints
and the spectacular fault-steps at Tambach
Rich Keiyo/Marakwet/Pokot/Tugen Culture Heritage.
So far, Keriovalley is served with only few camping sites , countable High Class restaurants including Kerio View Restaurant near Iten, Sego Safari Lodge near Emsea and Keellu Resort near Iten town. This is a golden opportunity for private investors to take up the venture assuming associated financial and social risk.
Survey from reliable sources indicate that the tourism economy represents 5 per cent of world GDP, while it contributes to 6-7 per cent of total employment. Similarly, tourism industry in Keriovalley would support the local economy and reduce poverty level of the local community through employment opportunities.
Tourism is a conventionally agreed to be a heterogeneous industry where hundreds of actors can operate in multiple market segments, even within a single country or region, and in line with that ,tourism in Keriovalley is not an exception. The principal businesses within the tourism in Keriovalley may include
a) Accommodation facilities – includes offering world-class Lodging facilities, Entertainment , Recreation facilities,communication facilities and so on.
b) Tour operation or guide- involves offering of professional services such as training tour guides, customer care services, Photography, Hotel and Catering, e.t.c and
c) Transport (land, air, and aquatic) – the vast Keriovalley region demands adequate, reliable , comfortable and quicker means of transport which has not been met so far. Suggestions could be tourist vehicles taxis, Rental vehicles for safaris to if the tourist would want self driving.
In conclusion, if the government, private investors and stakeholders synegize their efforts we can collectively reclaim the once “unproductive semi-arid” Kerio valley to a one-stop tourist destination in Elgeiyo/Marakwet county.