Tourism minister Dan Mwazo has challenged stakeholders in the tourism sector to diversify their products with a view to developing high niche products to attract more tourists to the country.
Mr. Mwazo cited some of the niche products as Cultural tourism, Aqua tourism, Medical tourism, and Eco-tourism as well as wildlife conservancy.
The minister’s remarks were contained in a speech read on his behalf by a top official in the ministry, Mr. Abdullahi Omollo during the launch of Dedan Kimathi University Wildlife Conservancy at the institution’s main Campus in Nyeri County.
Mr. Mwazo reiterated that the tourism sector has been identified in the Kenya Vision 2030 as one of the six key sectors in the economic pillar that will drive the economy to achieve 10% economic growth rate.
In pursuit of this goal, he said, the sector will implement various strategies and programmes in the Tourism Sector Plan (2008-2012) to attract investments into the industry that will help to improve on tourism facilities and raise the quality of hospitality services in the country.
The minister said the diversification programmes are in line with vision 2030, to create a wide variety of tourism destinations and attractions all over Kenya to overcome the conventional Big Five tourism euphoria as well as create wealth and employment opportunities.
Mr. Mwazo singled out Conference Tourism as one area that has not been fully exploited noting Kenya is now ranked second in Africa in this kind of tourism by the International Congress and Convention Association (INCA).
Speaking during the occasion, Kimathi University College of Technology Principal, Prof. P. N. Kioni said the university hoped to realize two objectives in establishing the conservancy. The first one is to create a laboratory for academic programmes for training highly skilled manpower in sustainable tourism and hospitality industry with requisite hands-on skills to drive the country’s vibrant tourism industry.
The second object, Prof. Kioni said, was to provide a platform for both local and international researchers interested in understanding and generating knowledge on endangered wildlife species, and promote identification and recognition of intellectual property based on biodiversity.
Prof. Kioni said the University is collaborating with key partners in conservation, namely Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, National Museums of Kenya and the National Environmental Management Authority to foster biodiversity conservation and environmental protection.