Kenya is committed to developing sustainable beach and wildlife products which it is known for, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said.
Speaking yesterday during a three-day International Tourism Bourse (ITB) in Germany, the CS said sustainable tourism was Kenya’s key priority.
He said sustainable beach and wildlife attractions remain the country’s key tourist pullers, besides other products and, therefore, efforts towards conservation are underway.
Balala is leading over 40 Kenyans to pitch for tourism business to the more than 180,000 exhibitors, who are meeting to compare notes on the latest travel industry trends and opinions.
German market remains one of Kenya’s key tourist source markets, having recorded 78,388 arrivals last year, a growth of 59.2 per cent from 2017 that posted 49,247 arrivals.
On environmental pollution, Balala described the recent plastic ban as a success story.
“Kenya is an example to other East African nations and the world for its moratorium on plastic in 2017. The ban has reduced the number of plastics getting into the Indian Ocean waters, thus mitigating the real threat to marine life,” the CS said.
He said Kenya has stepped up efforts to harness the blue economy and plastic ban is one of the success stories towards this goal.
Balala said under the National Wildlife Strategy, 2030, Sustainability and Governance are one of the key pillars of focus to ensure proper co-ordination, effective implementation and sustainability of wildlife conservation in Kenya.
“Kenya has asserted its zeal on sustainable tourism initiatives, on anti-poaching campaigns, as well as beach management programs to strengthen tourism business,” he added.
Balala urged the EU — one of the world’s largest ivory traders — to close its domestic markets to boost conservation efforts.
Three years ago, Kenya disposed of the largest stockpile ivory at the Nairobi National Park. Subsequently, China banned trade in ivory last year, which is positive news for Kenya, as poaching rates are expected to reduce drastically.