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County Unveils Strategy to Boost Tourism

The county government of Kisumu has rolled out a strategy to promote Kisumu as a tourism destination of choice.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Tourism Farida Ahmed Salim said the strategy dubbed ‘Kisumu My Pride’ targets to showcase the unique tourist attraction sites in the area to woo both local and international visitors.

Kisumu, she said, was home to some of the world’s unique sites and untold stories which the campaign aims to bring to light to shore up tourism fortunes for the lakeside county.

At the center of the campaign, she said is Lake Victoria which is a stone throw away from the city’s Central Business District (CBD) adding that a lot of efforts shall be geared towards harnessing the potential of the water body to attract tourists.

Kisumu My Pride’ is a marketing strategy through which we want to bring out the best of Kisumu to the world. We have very unique stories that can only be told by us,” she said.

The department of tourism, she said, was working closely with other players in the sector to make the campaign a success as efforts to revive tourism within the western circuit gain momentum.

To give fresh impetus to the campaign, Salim said the county government has partnered with like-minded organizations to scale up conservation efforts for the lake.

Among them are Kanda La Ziwa Forum and Homeboys Group of Companies which together with other partners are set to host a festival on the 24th and 26th to create conversations around Lake Victoria conservation.

Dubbed Naam Festival, the event brings together artistes, policy makers, activists, human rights defenders and government representatives to discuss issues affecting the lake which is a mainstay for millions of people.

Speaking during a stakeholder engagement ahead of the festival, the CECM said the event will serve as a major boost to the campaign adding that the deliberations will help shape policy and legal framework on the conservation of the lake as the county moves to promote it as a key tourist attraction site.

“We must have justice for Lake Victoria so that as we use it to derive economic benefits, we must also ensure it is conserved for future posterity,” she said.

Naam Festival founder Dave Ojuolo said the forum will provide a platform for people living around the lake to dialogue on environmental governance and sustainable development.“We aspire to bring together fishermen, artistes, activists, artists, students, environmental leaders, community SDG leaders and political leaders to a safe space to hold free style and honest discourse on lake economic, environmental and social issues in East Africa,” he said.

The event, he said, will also include an exhibition of artistic creations made from waste as well as a live green music festival.

“We are using arts and culture to bring the conservation message to the people as a long term measure to conserve the lake,” he said.

The water body, he said, was under threat from pollution and encroachment which posed a great danger to human and aquatic life.

“This lake used to be home to about 380 species of fish but due to human activity and pollution this has reduced to just about seven,” he said.

As a precursor to the main event, he said several workshops for women and fishermen were ongoing at various fish landing sites along the lake to sensitize them on how best to conserve the lake while deriving economic benefits from it.

Home Boys Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mike Rabar said the festival and other interventions by the county government were key in repositioning Kisumu as a tourists hub.

The city, he said has demonstrated capability of hosting international events adding that promoting the lake as a tourist attraction site will boost leisure travel to the area.

Home Boys, he added, will partner with the county government and Naam festival to amplify the conservation messages.

By Michelle Luchetu and Centrine Ogonyo

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