The National and County Government have committed to partner to grow the Tourism industry in Turkana and strengthen conservation of national parks and reserves found in the county.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Governor Josphat Nanok in his office at the County Headquarters today, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala agreed that Turkana had a great potential on cultural tourism which requires better recognition and support from the national government.
The CS recognized Turkana’s appeal lies in the rich cultural heritage, fossil discoveries on human evolution and the largely unexplored beaches of Lake Turkana.
“Turkana has beautiful resources that are yet to be developed. There is need for strategic development of these resources into an appealing product that will attract more visitors with a promise of great experience,”
We have a national strategy through which we wish to open up the country for tourism and in Turkana If you connect the cultural tourism to the beach in Lake Turkana, have potential to rival Diani, southern Kenyan Coast,” he said.
The CS promised to constitute a joint team from his Ministry and the County Government to formulate a masterplan on growth of tourism through creation of a linkage of all its strengths. He said once the masterplan is developed, an investors’ round table will be called on its development.
On plans to establish a science park as a forum for exhibition of fossils on human evolution, the CS expressed the preference of the national government to establish the park in Turkana. He assured that the National Government will be fully involved in these plans and take lead in its implementation.
On his part, Governor Nanok called for national government support of the Tobong’u Lore Cultural Festival which had grown from a local event to a regional showpiece that was part of campaigns to strengthen peace and cohesion among communities through a celebration of culture.
He expressed his belief that better marketing of Turkana’s key tourism product of culture, archelogy and Lake Turkana will grow number of Tourists visiting the region and earn the country revenue.
He urged the national government to invest more in infrastructural development that will boost connectivity of Kenya to neighbouring countries- Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan
The Governor asked CS Balala to set plans for conservation to protect Lake Lokipi in Suguta Valley from expected increase in human activity due to geothermal power exploitation in the area. He said the lake carried a larger Flamingo breeding ground compared to Lake Natron in Tanzania that is a huge attraction for tourists.
In a meeting with representatives from the hotel industry in Turkana, at the Cradle Tented Camp, Governor Nanok called for support to be offered to the hospitality industry in Turkana to grow standards of services offered. CS Balala agreed to send experts from the Kenya Utalii college to hold refresher courses for hoteliers.
In the meeting were senior County Government officials led by County Secretary Peter Eripete, County Executives Jennifer Nawoi (Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources) and Robert Loteleng’o (Finance and Economic Planning)