Sustainable Tourism as a tool for development

We all know that unless growth is wholesomely qualitative as well as quantitative there is no development.

Chege Barbra, Sustainable Tourism
Written by Chege Barbra

Tourism is among the major income earners to most countries in the world and in Kenya it follows agriculture.
Nakuru county being the fourth largest town in Kenya is blessed with a lot of beautiful features such as Lake Nakuru which has the world’s most famous and large population of bright pink flamingoes breeding there.
There is Lake Naivasha and Lake Elementaita, Hyrax hill pre-historic site, Lord Egerton Castle, Menengai crater and the lovely scenery of the Great Rift Valley. These among other tourist attraction sites in Nakuru county attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually which translates the monetary inflow the county accrues from it hence a crucial part of the economy.
This year however, we are keen on ‘Sustainable Tourism’ which is an industry committed to making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people.
When we talk of generating income through employment creation for the local people it narrows down to that mama living next to the Nakuru National park. How can she earn from the visitors who are all over her neighbourhood?
It is key to note that when ecotourism is put into consideration and the local inhabitants are respected by the travellers (by respect I include having their environment maintained clean and kindness shown to them) promotes eco-friendly businesses.
It is important to note that when the local person is appreciated and treated decently it will trigger them to care for the environment and they’ll take it upon themselves to keep it clean. This especially when people earns from the environment, their active participation is guaranteed.
Nakuru county government can invest in putting up decent stalls and market areas around these tourist attraction sites. This will add value to both the local Nakuru county resident and the visitors.  Good planning should of course be put into consideration so as to avoid water drainage problems during the rainy season.
The County government of Nakuru can consider active involvement of the registered youth and women groups and other community based organizations in creation of employment using the presence of the God given visitor’s attraction sites by getting them secured stalls to sell their art works such as paintings, Pottery works, Beadwork among others.
The youth groups in art field can get to showcase traditional dances around the park’s auditorium so as to promote our diverse cultures and at the end of it their living standards will improve through such income generating activities.
Insecurity is the greatest threat to this industry. Nakuru county government should jealously protect its territory if it’s to earn from this sector. Insecurity ranging from terror attacks, war, disease outbreaks and other sources should be looked into.
The tourism authority should also partner with helpful departments such as Health and security to ensure protection and good coordination in this important industry in the economy.
To safeguard what Nakuru has in terms of the wild animals, the lakes and other natural resources, the county government should oversee that strict adherence to the principles safeguarding animal genetic resources are followed sustainably

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