Investing in Kenya: tourism industry
Tourism is Kenya's third largest foreign exchange earner. The tourism industry is growing as a result of the liberalization measures, diversification of tourist generating markets and continued Government commitment to providing an enabling environment, coupled with successful tourism promotion and political stability. Enormous opportunities exist for investment in film production; recreation and entertainment facilities in the following areas:
• Conference Tourism
• Cultural tourism
• Cruise ship Tourism
• Aviation/tour and travel Tourism
Potential investors can take full advantage of these opportunities through direct investments or joint-ventures with Kenyan entrepreneurs. Opportunities also exist in this sector in the construction of tourist hotels and game lodges all over the country.
Kenya is a vast country with a wide range of potential tourist attractions, which have not been fully exploited. Currently, the tourism industry is mainly concentrated at the country’s coastal area and in the National Parks and Game Reserves. As a policy matter, the Government of Kenya is strongly committed to the regional diversification of this very important industry to other areas for some good reasons. Similarly, the potential for the domestic market has not been fully exploited.
There is also need to identify other tourist attractions besides the existing National Parks, Game Reserves and the Beach. In order to extend the length of stay of “safari” tourists in Kenya, emphasis will be put into the development of inland “resorts” situated close to the national parks and game reserves. It is noted that the main constraint to the development of such resorts has been lack of sufficient investment capital. Participation in such investment ventures will, therefore, be very much encouraged by the Government of Kenya in order to exploit the tourism potential in those areas.
The tourist sector is one of the most important sectors of the Kenyan economy. The sector provides employment to thousands of people directly and many more indirectly. It is the second highest foreign exchange earner after agriculture.
The tourism sector has been performing well over the last one year, becoming the leader in service sector. During the first three quarters of 2005, visitors by air and sea increased by 28.2% to 605,969 from 476,471 in the corresponding period of 2004. The robust growth in the tourism sector was attributed to the stepped up marketing particularly in non-traditional markets such as China, Japan, India and the domestic market, and also the widened area covered by Kenya Airways. Some of the newly inaugurated Kenya Airways routes include Cairo-Istanbul, Bamako-Dakar, Harare-Maputo and Dubai-Guangzhou. The success in marketing benefited from the negative effects of the Tsunami in the Asian and Indian Ocean
Islands markets and Tourism improved security in the tourism circuits. The diversification away from traditional beaches and wildlife tourism to new circuits in the western and northern parts of Kenya also contributed to the improved performance. Looking forward, tourism is expected to remain buoyant in the medium term following the stepped up marketing campaigns. The World Cross Country Championship that is to take place in Mombasa in 2007, the delayed negative effects of bird flu and the effects of the Tsunami in Asian markets is also expected to help boost tourism.
List of Tourism Investment Opportunities
1. Joint Partnership in the Bomas of Kenya Projects
2. Bomas of Kenya Tourist Hotel Project
3. Bomas of Kenya Amusement Park Project
4. Health Spas Projects
5. Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Hotel Project
6. Meeting Point Plaza
7. Thika Fourteen Falls Lodge Project
8. Lake Victoria and its Environs
9. Cruise-ship Project on Lake Victoria
10. Mombasa Port Cruise-ship project
11. Mombasa Beach Golf Hotel at the North Coast
12. Mombasa Island Hotel Project
13. Tana River Primate lodge Project
14. The Leisure Galaxy Hotel (Mwingi)
15. Aberdares Forest Lodge
16. Kitale Tourist Hotel Project
17. Eldoret Airport hotel project
18. Kora Lodge Project
19. Sibiloi Lodge Project
20. Kerio Valley Lodge Project
21. Opportunities in the National Parks and Reserves
22. Roadside Conveniences
23. Eco tourism projects
24. Film tourism
25. Sports tourism
About the Author: Robert is a tour consultant in Kenya and has planned business and vacation safaris for over 10,000 tourists in the East African region. He is a tour operation- major and involved in National tourism policy development in Kenya.
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