Kisumu County Department of Tourism and Culture has invented new ways to ensure growth in the tourism sector in the region.
To commemorate World Tourism Day, the department collaborated with various stakeholders in the region to celebrate the diverse tourist attractions in the county and bring to limelight destinations that are not well known.
The event held at Ndere Island in Seme, Kisumu County, brought together over 50 dignitaries from different tourism sites management sectors with the aim of ensuring inclusive growth.
The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports Achie Alai stressed the need for digitalization and collaboration as a way of restarting tourism in the region.
She said the tourism sector was the hardest hit by Covid-19, and being one of the major backbones of the country’s economy, they had to come up with innovative ways to resume tourism amidst the pandemic.
“We know that Covid-19 has shown us that a country and the world can actually stop. The sector was the hardest hit because worldwide nobody could travel, while nationally and in the county there was a restriction,” said Alai.
As a sector, she said, it was impossible to stand alone, therefore there is need to bring on board different stakeholders to rebuild the tourism sector.
Consequently, in partnership with airlines, hotels, schools and wildlife services, it was easy to highlight the beauty of Kisumu and promote local tourism.
“We reached out to six airlines that come to Kisumu on a daily basis and hotels to come and partner with us, we also reached out to academia to supply us with students of hospitality and tourism management,” she posed.
At the same time, with digitalization taking over the activities globally and being the new normal to growing businesses, it was time for tourism to embrace it fully and attract its online audience.
Alai said by partnering with the media to broadcast and air tourist attraction sites, international and local tourists will know the unknown sites and visit them to realize their hidden beauties.
“It is sad that even some of our citizens have never visited these sites and yet we want to promote them and sell them outside there,” she reiterated.
The county executive encouraged photographers to take good pictures of these sites and post them on social media where it will help to reach youths and global tourists to promote tourism in the region.
And with a majority of youths using digital technology, she urged them to use their platforms to research and invent ways of showcasing the beauty of the islands, forests, airlines and hotels.
Speaking at the same event, Director of Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Dr. Esther Munyiri said there is hope things will be back to normal as some hotels have reopened and the number of tourists have increased.
She lauded the sector for the efforts put so far to ensure they do not go down the drain during this crisis, and encouraged citizens to be vaccinated as a way to ensure the statistics on pandemic go down, so that things can go back to normal.
“We must ensure our tourists’ health and safety before their enjoyment. I, therefore, urge the management of these destination sites to follow the Ministry of Health (MOH) laid down guidelines and ensure containment of these measures,” she said.
By Evangeline Mola and Lorine Awino