Kenya will embark on marketing a new package which would include World War One battlefield tourism in the United Kingdom and Germany who were the main protagonists in the war fought in the East African region.
According to Mr. Mohamed Hersi who the chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation, this new concept would attract more visitors especially the elderly whose forefathers fought and died in the war which took place in 1914 to 1918.
Mr. Hersi explained that only old people were interested in this kind of package given what has just been witnessed in the just concluded commemoration of the ending of the First World War 100 years ago.
” Those who attended this year’s event were elderly tourists who lost loved ones in the war which was taking place in the European countries and the East African region came in only because they had been colonized by the British who occupied Kenya while Germans took over Tanganyika.” said the former manager of the Sarova White Sands Hotel in Mombasa.
Hersi revealed that the new package would be known as “Beach holiday and Safari” which would involve visiting the various sites where the fighting took place which are scattered between Voi and the border town of Taveta.
However, the veteran hotelier stressed the need to sensitize even the young tourists who should also enjoy this part of their history .
He praised James Wilson who has authored a book “The Guerillas of Tsavo” which outlines and names the battlefield sites in this region where the war took place suggesting that the young should come and see for themselves instead of just reading as part of history in schools.
Hersi made these remarks yesterday morning while bidding farewell to the visitors who had graced the commemorative event of the ending of World war 1 in Taita Taveta county.
The British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey and his German counterpart Ms Annett Gunther and the deputy High Commissioner of the Austrialian Embassy Jonathan Ball among other dignitaries attended the ceremony.
Prayers for those who sacrificed their lives during that time were carried at the Voi Commonwealth Graves, the Maktau Indian and Taveta cemeteries.
The Kenya Defence forces conducted military parades in all these places.
Hersi who is also the Operations Director with Kenya’s leading tour operator, Pollman Tours and Safaris said that due to the prevailing peace being enjoyed in the coast region, tourism had gone up.
“I am happy to report that 20 chartered airlines had shown interest in coming back to Kenya. Qatari Airways will from 1st of December this year bring the visitors direct to Mombasa while Ethiopian airlines would soon follow suit.” Said Hersi during an interview with KNA.
Meanwhile, the Sarova Taita Hills General Manager, Willy Mwadilo has revealed that they had recorded full bed occupany in the region during the centenerary World War One celebrations.
Mwadilo observed that between now and February next year the hotel industry will be at its best.
“Currently we have recorded 40% in international bookings while domestic tourist stood at 60%,he said.
He appealed to Kenya Railways Corporations to ensure that the Madarak Express Standard Gauge Railway train stopped at Voi to bring more visitors to the region.
The General Manager pointed out that SGR had enhanced the number of those interested in touring both the Tsavo West and East National Parks.
Captions: DSC 0958 The chairman of Kenya Tourism Federation Mr. Mohamed Hersi during an interview with KNA at Sarova Taita Hills hotel where he revealed that the tourism body has an new package – Beach holiday and Safari which would include Battlefield tourism in World War One sites.
By Fatuma Jumeah.