Kisumu County Government has unveiled plans to exploit opportunities along Lake Victoria's waterfront to harness its tourism potential.
The county, in collaboration with tourism stakeholders such as the Tourism Fund and United Nations Habitat, wants to develop the lakefront with features that can attract both domestic and international visitors.
Deputy Governor Dr Mathews Owili said part of the strategies include plans by the Tourism Fund to construct a convention centre and an amusement park to help map out Kisumu as tourism destination.
He said talks are at advanced stages, noting that the county government last week met officials of Tourism Fund over facilities whose construction was mooted late last year.
The convention centre will be set up next to Sunset Hotel, a Government-owned hotel that has also been earmarked for a facelift.
The devolved unit has also entered into a pact with the UN Habitat to construct two arts and cultural centres to help nurture potential in local heritage and artistic talents for consumption by tourists. The State has opened talks with hospitality industry players to design affordable holiday packages that can boost visits - both domestic and foreign.
“We want to reinvent our brands by opening the waterfront and exploiting niche markets such as sports and film and cultural activities so that we can showcase a variety of attractions that have pushed the numbers elsewhere,” he said.
Mr Owili spoke during a media launch of the World Tourism Day to be marked on September 27. Kenya Wildlife Services Senior Warden Christine Boit said fees charged at places such as the Impala Park and Ndere Island Park will be waived in the run up to the September 27 celebrations to promote domestic tourism.
Lake Victoria Tourism Association chairman Dedan Olawo said they will publicise the various products in the region's 15 counties.
Lake Victoria basin is home to the rare and endangered Sitatunga antelope and black and white rhinos at the Rhuma Conservancy, plus a host of bird varieties, historic and archeological sites and cultural traditions that largely remain unexplored.