By KEPHER OTIENO
A masterplan to market tourist excursion sites in Nyanza has been developed to boost domestic tourism, which for many years has been overlooked despite its economic potential.
The move comes as Tourism Minister Najib Balala moved to refocus on domestic tourism to open up the hitherto underused rural tourist sites.
The plan tagged Nyanza Counties Tourism Development Plan (NCTDP) details the tourism resources and opportunities that need to be tapped to spur sleepy rural economies.
The main philosophy of NCTDP is to diversify tourism products and offer tourists a wide range of experiences, including accommodation.
- 1 Kisii residents pour in numbers for Mashujaa fete
- 2 Hotels bank on events, domestic tourism to keep business alive
- 3 Maraga pledges to set up Labour court in Homa Bay
- 4 Arab traders used sugar to lure Kendu Bay residents to Islam
NCPTDP is to partner with newly formed Lake Victoria Tourism Association of Kenya inaugurated last month when Balala visited Kisumu to access some of the lavish tourist facilities.
While over the years, concentration has been on the coastal sites, the officials disclosed that they were now keen to re-activate the villages, which had been overlooked by successive regimes.
Although, coastal beach holidays and wildlife safaris still remained attractive, the association intends to expand core tourism products in Nyanza and Western.
Thses include golf, rock climbing, bird watching in Rusinga, tour of Kogello where US President Barrack Obama’s roots trace, among other cultural heritage.
Apart from the lake, bullfighting, Kakamega Forest and Mt Elgon, are among major tourist attractions.
Nyanza is home to the famous Kit Mikaye (ancient rocks hipped on another, which does not disintegrate even when there is earth quake or inclement weather.
It is also home to legends Lwanda Magere, Okore Ogonda, and Gor Mahia, among others, famed for courage in protecting their communities against external aggressions.
Heroes like the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Achieng’ Oneko – freedom fighters and the late Tom Mboya.
The late Mboya, who fought for labour rights, also came from Nyanza. Historians still trace their roots to archive their history.
Yesterday, the tourist association officials told The Standard On Saturday that they had embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns to show the region’s rich cultural and archaeological diversity.
They spoke as the association patrons Kisumu mayor Sam Okello and Abdul Kadir Omar assured investors and tourists of improved security. He said the region had beautiful sceneries.
Okello said the tourist plan will help to encourage the private sector and local communities to develop "out of park" tourism activities such as mountain biking.
Other expected benefits are visits to cultural and spiritual sites, cultural performances and community walks.