Fees for wildlife parks could be lowered further

Dr Erastus Kanga Director General of Kenya Wildlife Service giving his remarks on August 17, 2023, at Kenya Wildlife Service headquarters in Nairobi. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Local and international tourists may pay less than earlier proposed for visiting Kenyan parks if the reviewed charges will be implemented.

The government has proposed to charge Sh11,000 from Sh14,000 as earlier proposed for foreign tourists and Sh2,000 for local tourists visiting premier parks.

Speaking on Thursday, during a validation forum on the review of national parks, reserves and sanctuaries, and conservation fees, KWS Director General Erastus Kanga said this will ensure the conservation objectives are met.

“Our deliberation focuses on the sustainability of our treasured wildlife resources and embodiment of our national heritage,” he said.

He added that the proposed fees will help transform and harmonise the tourism sector with the government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA).

This, among other projects, will see a facelift in infrastructure, conservation of heritage, human-wildlife conflict mitigation measures and support community projects.

According to Dr Kanga, tourism recovery will position the Kenyan tourism sector to the international market.

“These funds are indispensable in ensuring ecological integrity, attaining financial stability and forging robust community partnerships that position us even internationally,” stated Dr Kanga.

Early this year, KWS conducted its nationwide public participation on the proposed review of conservation fees.

It is from this that KWS seeks to restructure the wildlife sector by diversifying its services and products slated to come into effect from January 2024 to December 2025.

KWS has been charging Kenyan adults Sh860 and children Sh215. Non-resident adults currently pay Sh. 86,600 while children part with Sh5,000

Dr Kanga noted that they are looking forward to rebranding and restructuring the sector that is critical to the economy to achieve value addition. 

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, the tourism sector contributes to about eight per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

From the review, KWS has classified the local and East African Community citizens in a single fees category while the rest of Africa will pay half the fees charged to international visitors.

If implemented, the proposals will also see children below five years of age and persons with disabilities visit the parks without charges.