Kenya is diversifying its unique tourism products and tapping on cultural tourism as a key product.
Speaking when he addressed the 3rd edition of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)/ UNESCO World Conference on Tourism and Culture in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that this is being done through conservation, preservation and protection of the country rich culture and heritage for all while involving the local communities.
The conference is being held at the Lutfi Kirdar International Convention and Exihibition Centre.
Balala said that Kenya's National Tourism Blueprint 2030 which is already in place seeks to address four thematic areas that are backborne of tourism development.
"These include infrastructure, product development, marketing and investment as well as research and innovation which are key enablers of Tourism development,'' Balala said.
The CS said that product development strategy aims to enrich the experience of the new generation of tourists (Millenials) whose new trends involve interacting with local communities, experience their food and culture and leaving footprints in the communities.
Balala added that the government is keen to see communities benefitting by developing culture and heritage such that the Local Communities can achieve economic development through commercialization of their culture practices (commercialization of local Maasai beads (Ushanga), Maasai merchandise) and preservation of these cultures for future generations
He noted that they are keen on encourage Local Communities to conserve and preserve culture that enables them to benefit from the culture practices and share with the tourists.
''Culture is recognized in the Kenya Constitution. Chapter 2, on Republic, of Article 11 (1) recognizes culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilization of the Kenyan people and nation,'' Balala said.
Balala said that Article 11 (2) (a) provides that the State shall promote all forms of national and cultural expression through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information,mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage;
He said that in the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution Article 35, Tourism policy and development recognized as a constitutional
mandate of the National Government.
Balala explained that capacity building and training of the tour guides and local-community on the culture practices and heritage such that they can explicitly interact with tourists, through the various channels such as (Digital Platform and Social Media, Pamphlets, Brochures).
The CS said that the recent first Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi on 26th to 28th November 2018, with over 18,810 participants from 184 countries around the world also sought to Identify Culture as one area that needs to be recognized in discussing matters of sustainability in the management of water.