Green Tour Kenya Project was initiated in 2018 as the second phase of Switch Africa Green funding from the European Union. The Green Tour partnership led by the European Centre for Eco & Agro tourism (ECEAT) and local implementation partners, the Kenya Association of Tour Operators and Ecotourism Kenya, set out to create a socially and environmentally sustainable Kenya tourism supply chain by;
-Providing guidance, support, and best practices to African tourism companies to adapt and replicate globally proven sustainable consumer products supply chain methodologies.
-Increasing the implementation of best eco and socially responsible practices among African tour operators, accommodation providers, and their suppliers. (i.e. accommodation, safari guides, activity providers)
-Marketing sustainable tourism products, strengthening business and destination promotion between international buyers and Kenyan suppliers.
The project has in the course of its lifetime received support from key industry stakeholders including government institutions such as Kenya Tourism Board and Tourism Fund. The footprint of the project has also transcended the Kenyan borders and included linkages with other African Nations including partnerships and notable cultural exchanges with tourism institutions in the Gambia and Rwanda; Some of the Key project highlights include:
- Initialized and engaged 20 committed tour operators and 5 local community-based tourism organizations in the 3-year Export Coaching Programme for sustainability. These 20+ tourism enterprises have been supported through training, coaching, and market access activities, as well as sharing of global best practices.
- Upscaled African tour operator standards; a localized CSR management reporting system and the toolbox was defined through Travelife for Tour Operators Certification; training package developed; database with eco-certified suppliers generated.
- Trained over 100 Tour Operators in Sustainable Tourism Practices and engaged them through the Travelife for Tour Operators Certification. As of the close of the project, 9 companies have attained the international Travelife Certification and over 20 companies have attained Partner status.
A screenshot of the virtual webinar on Sustainable Tourism Marketing & Communications training held in January 2022 for tour operators
- Held responsible tourism awareness through #GreenTourWednesday on Ecotourism Kenya’s social media platforms and shared content on Fridays on Kenya Association of Tour Operators’ social media platforms. Additionally, articles on project activities and thematic areas can be found on the GreenTour Kenya sub-web.
- Established partnerships with various sub-sector associations and other local organizations, enhancing community development & conservation as well as linking tourism stakeholders in the value chain to improve sustainability. These include the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC), the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association (KPSGA), the Kenya Tour Driver Guides Association (KTDGA), the Kenya Red Cross Institute (KCRI), and the Kenya Women in Tourism Association (KAWT)
- The project has also engaged the public sector through different avenues of collaboration. This includes the Tourism Fund and Magical Kenya (KTB).
KTB received specialized sustainability training on Sustainable Destination Branding & Marketing. We also partnered in a workshop for Travel Influencers Sustainability training with the goal of increasing sustainability awareness for individual influencers.
Tourism Fund has co-funded the City Hotels Sustainability Certification Program putting into course the program launch in November 2022. The city hotels certification has now expanded the scope of certifications offered by Ecotourism Kenya to include hotels in urban areas and ultimately contribute to sustainable and green cities.
- GreenTour has also established partnerships with different international organizations for joint visibility, training programs, and other collaboration areas, incl. the Dutch CBI Export Coaching Programme and the ITC She Trades Programme.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project engaged actively through its local partners and newly designed activities, such as COVID-19 training (over 300 participants), vaccination support, design of SOPs, etc.
Capacity-building activities for tour operators, tour and safari guides, travel influencers, destination managers and Community-Based Tourism Organizations (CBTOs). Activities include sustainability training and coaching (group and individual), business-relevant training and webinars, business coaching, contributions to conservation, business linkages, and community-based tourism events.
- Input into policy briefs; A White Paper addressing policy challenges for Kenya as a sustainable tourism destination has been developed. This was achieved through a collaboration with Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre-East Africa (GTRCMC) and input from key industry stakeholders. The white paper was presented at the official closing of the project on 15.12.22 at the Sarova Panafric Hotel.
- Participation in tourism events and trade fairs-both local and international including Magical Kenya 2019 and 2022, WTM London 2019 and 2022, Switch Africa Green Networking Event in Kigali 2019, ITB 2022 and Ecotourism Kenya’s Ecowarrior Awards, and KATO AGMs.
The project’s actions and interventions have built awareness and increased the understanding of sustainability in tourism. It has acted as a catalyst for the practice of responsible tourism; through policy and codes of conduct review and having engaged key stakeholders throughout the tourism supply chain including industry associations, tour operators, guides, government institutions, community organizations, and hotels.
We extend our sincere appreciation to all who have engaged with the project. We are confident that the engagements we have had, the partnerships we have forged and the collaborative spirit that has been a part of this initiative since its inception will endure beyond the project and will strive to operate tourism that is inclusive and responsible with respect to, people, planet and prosperity.