Celebrating World Tourism Day, 27 September at Ndere Island National Park.
Ndere Island National Park gained attention world wide during the World Tourism Day celebrations in Kisumu. In his address, Deputy Governor Dr. Matthew Owili said there should be regional collaborations so as to revive the tourism industry.
The theme for WTD 2021 was ‘Tourism for Inclusive growth’ aimed at identifying strategies to restart the tourism sector amidst challenges posed by the pandemic. According to CEC Tourism, Achie Alai, tourism has faced major setbacks for the second year running. “We are a resilient nation we have been able to re-invent tourism. Kisumu County is offering alot to the table and especially conference tourism.”
According to Dr. Esther Munyiri, Director of Global Tourism Resilience & crisis Management Centre, “the media has played a huge role in Tourism. Through covering events, we have been able to put the word out there. Kenya received over 2 million Tourists in 2019. In 2020 we had a 72% drop, receiving about 80,000 tourists.”
“We are still in that crisis but with whatever is happening around the world, we have hope. The tourism industry has employed about 100 million and their jobs are still at stake.”
Group Director of Operations at Pollman’s Tours Mohammed Hersi termed Kisumu as “a wonderful destination and we have to see it differently from the narrative that the media has always portrayed.” He added that, “tourism cannot work without travel,” emphasizing the need to embrace domestic travel and tours.
In his keynote, Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili referenced tourism as a pillar of SDGs adding that, “The Covid 19 pandemic has greatly affected the economy and more so the Tourism industry. We have begun with an enabling environment for investors interested in tourism. It is time to rethink, transform, and safely restart tourism.
“We have also deliberately invested into the Ministry of tourism. Right from the beginning, we were set to utilize the potential of Kisumu County and the rest of the region.” The DG inferred the county Government commitment in promoting tourism in the western circuit through aggressive investments in the hospitality and maritime sectors.
In a panel discussion aired on Switch TV, Achie attributed digitization of the tourism industry as a pillar that will help restart the industry. “With a device as simple as your mobile phone, one can locate a tourist destination. There is no excuse for digitizing the tourism sector. The common mwananchi is can now afford and access the Internet.” The youth should shift the mentality of social media. The platform should be a source of economic empowerment.”
In attendance were exhibitors, partners and stakeholders like Safaricom, the event transport partner Waterbus EA, KWS, TRA, Kenya Forest Service, Tourism Fund, KMA, KPA, Maseno University, airlines that connect to Kisumu including 748, KQ, Jambojet, Renegade Air, Safari Link and hospitality players Best Western, Ciala Resort, The HydeOut Riviera, Tourism Fund among others.