By Grace Nderitu

Nairobi, Kenya: Ecotourism Kenya has released the long list of nominees who will be contesting for the Eco Warrior Awards in 2017. This year, the Eco-Warrior Award has been altered to be in sync with the 2017 UNWTO Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and the WTM and Africa Responsible Tourism Awards. The award will therefore focus on how tourism businesses in Kenya are contributing to the uptake of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs). | Read the full article here.

Student-Internship Activity: Call for Application

Ecotourism Kenya is inviting university students to apply for the SUS-TOUR Internship activity.

SUS-TOUR is a 30-month project that is being implemented jointly by the three partners (Ecotourism Kenya, the Federation of Community Based Tourism in Kenya (FECTO) and the German-based Collaborating Centre on Sustainable Production and Consumption (CSCP)) since 2015. It is funded by the European Union through the framework of projects of Switch Africa Green. The overall objective of SUS-TOUR is to contribute to the sustainable development of tourism in Kenya through promoting customer-oriented innovation and marketing of CBTs to foster improvement in rural livelihoods and conservation of culture and the natural environment.

The SUS-TOUR’s Student-Internship Program provides Kenyan youth with an exceptional opportunity to practically apply their skills on business strategy, marketing and sustainable consumption and production to Community-based Tourism Organizations (CBTOs).   A total of 20 students or recent graduates from Kenya Universities will be competitively selected to undertake 2-day training. After the training, 10 students with the best innovative ideas of transforming CBTOs in Kenya will be selected and deployed to undertake a 2-month internship at various CBTOs in Kenya.  The hosts CBTOs are located in Western, Laikipia, Kajiado, and Nyanza regions of Kenya.

The internship program is designed for students/ and recent graduates who:

  • Are undergraduates in the disciplines of either Tourism Management, Commerce (Marketing), Entrepreneurship, Community Development, Ecotourism, and Hospitality;
  • Will be available for internship for the period of September-November 2017;
  • Have passion in the development of community-based tourism in Kenya;
  • Have exceptional command of English and Swahili language;
  • Are in their 3rd or 4th year of study, or have graduated in the last six months

Interested students can apply for the program by downloading the form SUS-TOUR_Call_Internship_2017, and sending it to by 24th August 2017.


Kenya Tourism Federation Statement on Kenya’s Post Election 12/8/2017

On 8/8/2017 millions of Kenyans trooped to various polling stations across the country to cast their votes. As per our earlier statement on Day 1 the voting process was generally smooth and Kenyans conducted themselves in a mature and civil manner. They were well commended by the international community.

By and large the electoral process was given a clean bill by all the various international independent observers from The EU, UK, Commonwealth, African Union and Carter Centre from the USA amongst many others. The various observers were led by imminent globally respected personalities the likes of John Kerry former US secretary of state, Thabo Mbeki former South African president and John Dramani Mahama former Ghana President amongst many others.

The main opposition party disputed the results streaming process, they raised various issues in a letter to the electoral body. The electoral team responded to every issue they raised on the same day.

On 11/8, the main opposition party opted to stay away from the results announcement. The electoral body went ahead to continue working round the clock to collate all the results. They finally announced the winner as the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta who garnered over 54% of the votes.

Most parts of Kenya has since remained calm save for Kisumu and it’s environ which is considered an opposition party stronghold and a few pockets in Nairobi that registered isolated cases of skirmishes. These were all sorted out by the Kenya police in a swift organized manner. The unrest reported in Kisumu 3rd largest city in Kenya has since been quelled and it is all calm and quiet. The airport and other facility are open and operational.

Update on Tourist Circuit Areas

Nairobi: The main capital city has remained calm and the both airports Jomo Kenyatta and Wilson are operating without any disruptions.

All roads in and around Nairobi are open to traffic with no reported disruption. A few pockets of unrest was reported in Kibera slum area but has since been quelled. We do not anticipate any skirmishes moving forward.

Nakuru & Naivasha: These two popular areas with intentional tourists has remained very clam with not a single incident was reported. The only crowds that were reported in various areas were celebrating a win by local aspirants etc.

Narok, Masai Mara & Greater Rift Valley: Another popular zone world famous Masai Mara is currently experiencing the annual wildebeest migration has been very calm safe for lion roars and the millions of wildebeests and other grazers dotting the Mara plains. The only crowds were happy locals again celebrating a win by a local aspirant along the main roads in urban centers. They posed no issue to any motorist. Masai Mara is currently very busy with all the camps and lodges enjoying 90% occupancies and above.

Mount Kenya, Samburu & Northern Kenya: No incident and it has all been quite and calm
Mombasa, Diani, Malindi, Watamu, Lamu & Tana Delta. Not a single incident and it has been calm all through. Hotels and Resorts are all operating and no disruption of any facility has been reported be it the Ferry, and the four airports of Mombasa, Ukunda, Malindi & Lamu.

Conclusion: We shall keep you informed of any issue as and when it comes up. Please also note that many of the international journalists and TV stations have opted to use old video clips and images to file their stories since Kenyan opted not to engage in any acts of violence this time round.

Meanwhile Kenya Tourism Federation which is the umbrella body for the tourism industry in Kenya will continue to operate its 24 hour safety & security center for any occurrence which is highly unlikely. During the elections we had over 100 vehicles positioned along all the major tourist routes with observers to monitor tourist routes to ensure that all our esteemed visitors are safe and there is no interruption to their itineraries.

We also worked very closely with Kenya police and the special wing of Tourist Police unit who were at hand in case we ever needed their assistance 24/7.

For those planning to come to Kenya , rest assured that all is well and we are currently enjoying one of the best tourism season after many years. Don’t be left out, get here we know you can and magical Kenya awaits you.

Mohammed Hersi, Chairman Kenya Tourism Federation
Richard Corcoran,  Chairman KTF Security

Click here to download the statement (pdf, new window)

Understanding Ecotourism

According to The International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is, ‘Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people’ (TIES, 1990).

Ecotourism Australia defines the term as ‘Ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation’.

At Ecotourism Kenya, we know Ecotourism as ‘the involvement of tourists in environmental conservation activities directly linked to addressing human development needs, and promotes equitable sharing of benefits accrued from tourism with local communities while supporting their nature conservation values’.

So what really is Ecotourism?

It is actually all of the above. The underlying words are ‘responsible tourism’ and ‘local cultures’. It brings together conservation, communities and tourism.

Ecotourism is NOT a type of tourism like other types of tourism e.g. Adventure, beach, culture-based, wildlife, sports, scenic, specialized etc.

  • Not a comparison or alternative to mass tourism
  • Not an exclusive way of doing tourism

BUT … a tourism business approach or strategy for achieving the goals of sustainable development. Hence, ecotourism principles are applicable to all types of tourism and tourism products

Models of Ecotourism

  • Conservancies (nature, wildlife, shrines)
  • Tourism enterprises (lodges, camps, treks, etc)
  • Tourism sector-based Corporate Social
  • Responsibility (CSR)
  • Travellers’ philanthropy
  • Tourism supply chain management
  • Tourism investment – Private-Public Partnerships
  • Direct capacity-building community development Programs

Principles governing ecotourism

  1. Encourage travel to natural areas
  2. Minimize impact of tourism activities on natural attractions
  3. Recognize and build awareness about local conservation values and their importance to society
  4. Provide direct benefits and empowerment for local people at destinations without retrogression on environmental, cultural or local living standards.
  5. Respect local people, their customs and culture
  6. Support sustainable development of local economies through direct involvement and participatory decision-making