Tourism stakeholders in the North Rift have been urged to invest in creation of more tourism sites in the region in a bid to boost the sector which is one of the key economic drivers in the country.
Speaking at Kampi Samaki Snake Park on Monday during the launch of human wildlife conflict compensation payments, Tourism Cabinet Administrative Secretary (CAS) Rtd Joseph Boinnet stated that there is need to make tourism sceneries in the region to look more attractive not only for wildlife but also for tourists to come and see what the region has.
Boinnet who accompanied Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director General Brig. (Rtd.) John Waweru, Baringo Governor Stanley Kiptis, Wildlife Principal Secretary Prof. Fred Segor and County Commissioner Henry Wafula noted that government through the department of natural resource was working on a process of exploring possibilities in conserving the entire ecosystem of the region all the way from Cheranganyi, Elgeyo Marakwet to escapements along Tugen hills in Baringo.
“There is a process that the government started which is seeking to explore the entire ecosystem of the North Rift region and my appeal is that we allow the process to continue because I am sure we shall reap its benefits soon,” he said.
Prof. Segor lauded local residents who have already willingly surrendered their land for expansion of tourism activities as well as wildlife conservation through community conservancies.
He called for more of such initiatives to be supported by local leaders who will play a crucial role in assisting local residents to allocate the best sceneries for tourism activities. “Where you feel it is the rightful place do a proposal through the county government to see a way of increasing tourist sites since we see that there is a potential of certain areas which can boost tourism activities,” the PS said.
At the same time Segor pointed out that the tourism circuit in some of the counties from the region like Baringo were not strong but said his department was negotiating with other government agencies like the Kenya Tourism Board who have pledged their support in improving the sector in Baringo Central and the lower parts of Baringo North which has a huge untapped tourism potential.
He regretted that Baringo was only making use of its two main tourism sites like Lake Baringo and Bogoria yet they have other unique beautiful sceneries like Morop Hills and Cheploch gorge along Kerio Valley region that needs to be documented so that they can be proactive and attractive for local and foreign tourists.
Governor Kiptis in his remarks noted that the county was earmarked by UNESCO as the first Sub Saharan geopark site due to its historic sceneries, wild animals and rich cultural heritage hence plans are in top gear to develop nature trails to tap the tourism activities in order to improve the livelihoods of the residents.
The Governor expressed optimism that the county will soon be one of the spots where tourists will be raring to visit after his administration in conjunction with North Rift Economic Block through their Tourism Coordinator Mr William Kimosop concludes the mapping of all the geopark sites and features within the county.
CS Balala who presided over Sh 29.7 million payout launch meant for Baringo wildlife attacks victims noted that aside from the compensation scheme, the government was also devising ways of recognizing and appreciating the goodwill of communities in order for them to protect the wildlife even better.
He promised to work out ways to see that the Mochongoi Forest is fenced off so as to keep off the elephants that has been terrorizing the residents of Baringo South.
By Faith Lagat and Christopher Kiprop