Using Tourism to empower Local Communities – Jacques

Sustainable tourism brings about the people-oriented industry, job creation and the preservation of the local culture. It’s about visiting a place and making a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.

Written by Jacques

Tourism is not all about travelling to designated places but can also be going to an entertainment joint and having fun with family and friends, having some time for recreational activities, doing some shopping and also enjoying local transport.
This comes at a cost but not necessarily making it expensive, it’s actually enjoying what’s close to you while preserving it for the future generation.
Sustainable tourism is an alternative, from that which is common or known, to that which is available and readily accessible. It comes in three forms;

  1. Nature-based tourism
  2. Ecotourism and
  3. Cultural tourism.

All having the best fit for our economy and general well-being. This tends to mend the social dislocation, loss of cultural heritage, economic dependence and ecological degradation.
It’s basically about refocussing and adapting from the short term tourism destination sites to the more long-term ones making a balance between the limits and usage so that continuous changing, monitoring and planning ensures that the tourism can be managed i.e. getting the interests of indigenous people, local communities, industry players/hospitality providers and the government under one roof.
Nakuru as a county has been blessed with many tourism destination sites. In fact, Lake Nakuru National Park has been among the top earner in revenue in the country for a very long time.
The biggest challenge is how to best sustain what we have as we look into other prospective sites and in this, we have to do two main things;

  1. Domesticate tourism for a benefit sharing with the local community. This entails a reduction of fees at the point of entry for the local community which will ensure more visit and are able to market the facility to their significant others while at the same time understanding the benefit the site has for its community.
  2. Budget engineering process that will ensure even national sites found in the County are of great benefit to the surrounding community and not just for social corporate responsibility but also in the general welfare of the community touching on their environment, society and economy.

A good scenario will be for the county government to come up with policies and measures which will ensure the revenues collected is pumped directly to the immediate community to generate more income for the county since the basic necessities and infrastructural development are being taken care of. This will be a great tool for the developmental agendas.
Sustainable tourism has the following advantages in a region;

  1. It ensures an inclusive and sustainable economic growth for the area.
  2. It encourages social inclusiveness while tackling the unemployment issues while greatly reducing the poverty /dependency ratio.
  3. It encourages resource efficiency , environmental protection while greatly contributing to the climate change.
  4. It enhances the indigenous community cultural values, diversity and heritage.
  5. It brings mutual understanding, peace and security in an area .

All these coupled with the available expertise will greatly make our beauty to be enshrined in our hearts.
Let’s make Nakuru the ultimate tourist destination region

Jacques is a socio-political analyst in Nakuru

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