The government will invest on the global recognition brought by Kenya athletes, Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala has said.
Speaking after touring North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) region counties of Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Elgeyo Marakwet where he toured training facilities and attractions in the region, Balala said apart from the Big 5 which are the prime tourist attractions, Kenya destination image is globally recognized due to its athlete’s prowess.
“Our athletes make a big name for us overseas whenever they win, especially marathons. That is why we shall put a team to document all athletes in Kenya since independence to honour them. We will use these athletes to promote tourism in the country,” he said
Balala further added that the ministry is looking into identifying, developing, and marketing NOREB which is made up of 8 counties namely Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Turkana, Baringo and Samburu as a tourism hub.
In order to achieve this, the CS however said that each county will need to identify 2 prime products to conceptualize and market, as the basis of promoting the NOREB region as a circuit.
During the tour, Nandi Governor Stephen Sang who received the CS added that the region had potential for sports tourism, cultural tourism, and agro-tourism and that he was looking forward to the partnership between the Ministry of tourism and Wildlife and NOREB to open up the region.
At the Global Sports Centre in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County where the renowned world marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge trains, the CS promised to engage with the Ministry of Environment to improve the training forest road in the area.
To improve the facility that is used by Kipchoge and many other athletes, Balala also committed to channel resources for the compacting of the training field at the centre so as to raise it to international standards.
On her part, Tourism PS Safina Kwekwe Tsungu noted that the area had high potential that should be harnessed to create wealth and enrich livelihoods of the people residing in the NOREB region.
During the tour, Balala officially launched Sergoit View Gardens, a community-based initiative with cycling, hiking and trekking base camp.
The CS was accompanied by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry Joseph Boinnet while Tourism PS Safina Kwekwe was accompanied by her Wildlife counterpart Prof. Fred Segor, among other senior ministry officials.
By Wangari Ndirangu