The cabinet secretary of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, and Governor Josphat Nanok met the tourism stakeholders today to chart a way forward on how to package and promote tourism products to make Turkana one of the leading tourism destinations in Kenya.
Speaking at the meeting, the CS Balala emphasised the need to develop tourism products that give experience. “Focus on cultural tourism and connect it with the beach and package it well then Lake Turkana can rival even Diani [South Coast].”
He revealed that with the recent launch of the “National Tourism Blueprint 2030” it contains the plan to open up the Northern frontier. The CS said that they would be working on a masterplan that encompasses the Turkana, Samburu and Marsabit eco-system in order to develop tourism products that are interconnected.
On his part, Governor Nanok said that the county government would like to collaborate with the national Tourism Ministry on three key areas; the promotion of Tobong’ulore as a national cultural event, the development of the Science Park and developing Lake Turkana for game fishing, cage fishing, water sports
“We also need to move with speed to protect Lake Lokipi as it is a flamingo breeding site. There will soon be human encroachment especially now with the geothermal exploration being carried out in the area,” said the Governor.
He added that Turkana is known across the globe because the archaeological discoveries and culture. When the full potential of these two products are realised, said Governor Nanok, it will not only benefit the county but the country as a whole.
In her presentation, County Committee Executive member (CEC) Jennifer Nawoi stated that the improvement of access to some of the tourism products would greatly benefit the county; a ring road round the lake connecting the western and eastern part of Lake Turkana and good connectivity with international borders for example from a Kidepo National Park (Uganda) loop through Turkana to Omorate (Ethiopia). This will also require the creation of immigration offices the border towns of Loima, Nadapal, Kibish and Todonyang.
In his closing remarks, CS Balala assured the stakeholders that Kenya Tourism Board was ready to assist in the promotion of the county’s tourism and have Utalii College to carry out refresher courses with the local hoteliers.