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.

A poster shared on #GreenTourWednesday 

  • 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)

A meeting between GreenTour Kenya and KTDGA at the K.A.T.O boardroom discussing areas of collaboration.

  • The project has also engaged the public sector through different avenues of collaboration. This includes the Tourism Fund and Magical Kenya (KTB). 

Sustainable Destination Branding & Marketing workshop with KTB team held in December 2022



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.






City Hotels Sustainability Certification Training & Program Launch



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.

Sustainability Training for tour operators held in 2018

  • 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. 

Handing over ceremony for the Sustainable Tourism white paper in December 2022

  • 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.

Community-based tourism organization representatives at the GreenTour Kenya stand at the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo 2022

Community-based tourism organization representatives at the Kwita Izina Naming Ceremony during a learning program with Red Rocks Initiative

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. 


GreenTour Project (European Union funded under the Switch Africa Green) has been actively engaging CBTOs since 2018. From the inception with three exemplary CBTOS-  Il Ngwesi Lodge, Twala Tenebo Cultural Center, and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust. the project has engaged CBTOs across the country and even beyond. It is worth noting that CBTOs engaged excel in women and youth integration, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation.

Let’s take a look at the year’s community-centered activities.

April Highlights

A representative from the European Union conducted a project donor official visit as part of monitoring the project’s impact on community enterprises. The CBTOs that were visited were Il Ngwesi Lodge and Twala Tenebo Cultural Center. Both of the organizations were able to show improvements in their operations from engagement with the project. They also identified areas of further engagement and support through the project could support in terms of capacity building for each of their respective areas.

The GreenTour Kenya representatives with Il Ngwesi Eco Lodge staff for a photo.


August Highlights

Four CBTOs in the project namely; Basecamp Maasai Brand, Il Ngwesi Lodge, Twala Tenebo Cultural Center, and Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, were engaged in a unique learning and cultural exchange in Rwanda, at the 10th Cultural Heritage Preservation Festival hosted by the Red Rocks Rwanda. This took place from 29th August 2022 to 2nd September 2022. The theme was Cultural Sustainability and Conservation.

The Kenyan CBTOs, GreenTour Kenya representative, and colleagues at the 10th Cultural Heritage Preservation Festival

Key highlights from the activity were;

-tree planting on the banks of Mukungwa River,

– panel discussion on the challenges and successes of community tourism initiatives.

– forum discussions with Red Rocks Initiatives leaders

– Gorilla Naming KWITA IZINA Ceremony at the Volcanoes National Park

-The inauguration of Rwanda Community Tourism Association (RCTA) Head offices in Musanze



At the Gorilla Naming KWITA IZINA Ceremony 2022

With the objective of improving the competencies, skills, and abilities of the workforce in the community-based tourism space in Kenya, the project rolled out an online survey targeting community-based organizations and enterprises towards the end of the month. It was run on Ecotourism Kenya’s social media platforms and circulated within her networks. This was to help identify areas that could inform better planning and engaging CBTOs.

October Highlights

A three-day capacity-building forum was organized in Nairobi on the 4th-6th of October 2022. This involved a two-day training and one-day coaching at the Magical Kenya Travel Expo(MKTE) 2022 at the Bomas of Kenya. The training topics were Marketing & Communications, Product Pricing, and Sales and Networking techniques. The ten CBTO representatives went through coaching on business linkages with Travelife certified tour operators who are also within the GreenTour Kenya project. They also had the opportunity to meet and connect with other industry players at MKTE 2022.

CBTO representatives and the GreenTour Kenya project team at the Nairobi Training

CBTOs at the Magical Kenya Travel Expo 2022 at Bomas of Kenya

Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge was nominated for the 29th World Travel Awards in the World’s Leading Eco-Lodge category. They also won the Ecowarrior Awards 2022 in the Best Community Tourism Initiative category. They serve as an encouragement to other community-based enterprises/organizations that responsible tourism is rewarding. We are delighted to have them make such strides in the tourism industry.

Programs Officer Mercy Onyango presenting the Ecowarrior Award trophy to James Kasoo

Administration & Finance Manager Lynnet Kamonde presenting the Ecowarrior Award 2022 Certificate to James Kasoo

November Highlights

The final upskilling activities for CBTOs within the project were done recently in Naivasha and Malindi from the 14th-18th November 2022. A total of seventeen CBTO representatives, 7 in Malindi and 10 in Naivasha underwent an interactive training that was informed by the online survey conducted in August 2022. The capacity building was focused on CBTO Product Development and Diversification, Financial Management, Community-Led Conservation, Organizational Development and Assertive Behaviour, and the Concept of Artisanal Centres and Souvenir Shops.

GreenTour Kenya Trainer Angela Njihia taking the participants through practical exercises using a flip chart at the Naivasha training.

The CBTO representatives gave Angela Njihia their gift to show their appreciation.

The training was complemented by practical coaching through visits to artisanal centers. These locations were Malindi Tourist Market, Bahari Women Group, Anzuki Recycle Designers and MSO Over the World in Malindi, and Cresent Island and Eserian Cultural Center in Naivasha. In addition to the knowledge gained, new networks were formed among the CBTOs, and healthy competition, collaborations, and knowledge sharing were encouraged.

Kate Mwikali(GreenTour Kenya trainer) emphasizes the importance of standing out in the market over replicating the same ideas of tourist souvenirs at the Malindi training.

The CBTO representatives and the GreenTour project assistant

The GreenTour Kenya project has assisted in identifying gaps in the community tourism space and has made considerable efforts to fill them. The number of CBTOs actively engaged in the project has increased over time as well. This signifies the project is delivering quality and timely support. All these activities are highlighted on Ecotourism Kenya’s social media platforms under #GreenTourWednesday.

Are you interested to be a part of community-based tourism organizations/enterprises activities or engagements?

Kindly contact Marxine Waite

P: 07266366080


Groundwater: The Precious Invisible Resource

The saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” However, this does not mean the subject of discussion is completely absent. Every year since 1993, 22nd March marks World Water Day when the world celebrates water and raises awareness of the numerous people living without access to safe water. Commemoration of World Water Day is about taking action to tackle water crisis the globally. This year’s theme is aimed to appreciate how precious groundwater is and make visible the invisible benefits it has.

Water has both direct and indirect uses. Direct uses include activities such as drinking, bathing, and cooking, while indirect uses of water include wood processing for purposes of making paper and steel production for automobiles. Largely, the use of water in the world is for agriculture, industry, and electricity. Water also has a close relationship with tourism as a sector that influences the development of tourism and its related activities. Cruise tours depend on water as a means of transport, water parks, and water-related excursions such as water rafting among others. Water attractions such as lakes, rivers, and oceans are sources of numerous aquatic attractions that tourists travel to view and experience. Additionally, when tourists visit they consume a lot of water either in drinking, while bathing, for swimming, and other recreational activities among others.

Groundwater is defined as freshwater underneath the surface of the earth found in spaces between rocks, soil, and sand. Groundwater comes from precipitation; melt ice/snow, surface water, runoff, etc. Groundwater is used in agricultural activities, ecosystem support, energy resources, urban and rural water supplies among others. Although unseen and assumed to always be there, groundwater’s availability and quality are threatened by a number of factors including, climate change, overexploitation, pollution by natural and human elements, land degradation, etc. Among other factors that encourage climate change, tourism is a big contributor. With the increased degrees of heat due to carbon dioxide emissions, evaporation of groundwater is imminent. This prevents groundwater from getting replenished. With little to no groundwater, industries including tourism will have a hard time operating. Tourism is not only competing with other industries to use groundwater but also contributing to its depletion. Groundwater conservation is therefore important as it will ensure its availability and good quality is sustained.

Factors affecting availability and quality of groundwater

Groundwater makes up approximately 30.1% of the world’s freshwater. The use of groundwater by various industries causes stress on the resource. Some of the ways groundwater is used in the tourism industry include; growing food for guests and local communities, as a source to water basins such as lakes, wetlands, acting as a support to ecosystems that host wildlife; a tourism resource, supporting livelihoods, etc.

Here are some actions that improve groundwater conservation:

  1. Establishment of suitable policies and regulations to direct proper management and handling of groundwater.
  2. Proper enforcement of the groundwater management laws to instill the discipline of sustainable practice of groundwater procedures.
  3. Construction of effectively functioning drainage systems should be to direct waste and water to their appropriate management sites. This will minimize flooding, pollution of groundwater and improve its quality.
  4. Wetlands, flood meadows, and two-stage ditches should be created to reduce surface water runoff.
  5. More water treatment facilities should be developed. This will improve the sanitation level of the water that is released back to the environment.
  6. More research and monitoring of groundwater should be done. This will provide up-to-date data which is important in informing the right decisions.
  7. Sustainable water management plans should be developed and put to use in tourism facilities. The Ecotourism Kenya’s Eco-Rating Certification program includes an integrative plan that puts into practice responsible water management. Read here:

  1. Any action that works on mitigating climate change, in the long run, works in the best interest of groundwater conservation.
  2. Increasing surface water supply reduces the demand for groundwater. This downs the drilling of more boreholes.


Good groundwater management is needed to achieve SDG target 6.6 to protect and restore water-related ecosystems, and SDG target 15.1 on the conservation of freshwater ecosystems and their services.

How else can we conserve groundwater? Let us know in the comments below.

International Mother Language Day 2022

Language and tourism have an essential interconnection following the movement of tourists to destinations across borders. This interconnection is yielded by the remarkable encounters amongst people who speak different languages. The world takes an honorable moment to commemorate The International Mother Language day 2022, on 21st February on the theme “Using technology for multilingual learning; challenges and opportunities”. Such commemorations as this present an opportunity to appreciate the importance of cultural and linguistic diversity for sustainable societies.  One of the 10 principles highlighted in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism focuses on tourism’s contribution to mutual understanding and respect between people and societies. This mandate presents a feature of responsible tourism considered to work towards preserving the differences in cultures and languages that foster peace, tolerance, and respect for others.

Over the years, various platforms and avenues have come up for learning different languages. They include but are not limited to Ablo, Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, FluentU, Tandem among others. They offer opportunities to learn some of the widely spoken languages. These exist as websites, mobile applications, and video platforms. Offered in different price packages, they use varying degrees of interactivity to keep the learner engaged. Language learning through technology can also be spotted in the entertainment industry through music, film and digital shows. The availability of captions in these media helps consumers get the information being passed while remaining in contact with the original sounds and nuances of the foreign language. There are over 6000 recorded languages in the world. Some of them are on the verge of being forgotten while others are changing dynamically. There is an opportunity for people to share more about the lesser-known languages.

Multilingual and multicultural societies exist through their languages which transmit and preserve traditional knowledge and cultures in a sustainable way. Any mother language forms a substantial part of an ethnic group’s culture. Carried within them are attitudes, values, perspectives and so much more. Mother tongues are a part of creating the attractive ambiance of a destination. While staff in the hospitality and tourism industry learn and use foreign languages to connect with the guests and make them comfortable, it is also important that they hold on to their mother language. They can enrich the guests’ experience by teaching them a few words and phrases in the local dialect to influence ease of interaction with host communities.

Institutions of higher learning providing Hospitality and Tourism courses offer and encourage foreign language units. This gives the students a competitive edge by being multilingual. Multilingualism and tourism go hand in hand. This is because tourism activities imply encounters with different people from different cultures. The more languages are spoken by the staff, say in a destination, the more they can make their guests unique and organic experiences. Often left out is the language of the minority catering to the blind and deaf. With technology, learning languages such as the International Sign Language has become much easier and more flexible. Destinations should take advantage of this and give training to their staff in order to better cater for the needs of the special clients.

Breaking the Green Washing Chain

The travel and tourism industry is multi-faceted and involves different stakeholders. For the industry to run successfully or achieve sustainable tourism development, a sound communication strategy is vital. Marketing and communication of responsible tourism products, services, and practices help tour operators stand out as responsible tourism enterprises. This heightens the tour operators’ chances of attracting conscious travelers as their clients.

Read more

Sustainable tourism development for Kenyan Destinations

Before the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, over-tourism was common in popular Kenyan tourism destinations. The affected destinations experience overcrowding which in turn leads to littering and a lack of observance of the park and reserve rules put in place e.g. using designated walk paths. In many cases, there is little involvement of the local communities. Whether it’s in the supply of materials to be used in the destinations or employment positions, the communities miss out or are left out of the benefits enjoyed by the destinations. As a result of the usual all-inclusive packages in the destination, there’s is the limited purchase of local food offered by the local communities. Respect for the culture of the locals in the destination is sometimes ignored. For instance, some cultures in Kenya value modest dress codes for women. However, some tourists dress in a manner that upsets the community. Habits such as these are picked up by the younger generation who often end up looking down on their culture’s values on clothing, as an example. This is where the appropriation of culture comes in. There is the pressure of maximizing positives obtained from tourism and minimizing the negatives but we would need to do things differently.

In order to do things differently; to have the tourism we engage in to respect the environment, the local community, and to be economically viable, we need to adopt sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism is an approach that looks into developing the environmental, socio-cultural, and economical aspects of tourism. Ecotourism Kenya has put in efforts to lead and encourage practitioners of tourism in Kenya to learn and pick up sustainable tourism practices. We have achieved this through the eco-rating scheme we run for accommodation facilities mainly hotels, camps and lodges. We are also part of the key implementation partners of the GreenTour Kenya project that aims to replicate tourism industry sustainability best practices into the Kenyan and wider African tourism supply chain through an integrated business-led approach. Through the project, we support sustainability training, coaching and certification of tour operators on the Travelife online platform. We have also offered sustainability coaching sessions to tour and driver guides.

Introducing Green Destinations Pilot Program in Kenya

We would like to get as many stakeholders of tourism as possible to better understand sustainability and eventually practice it. We have collaborated with the Green Destinations to further advance this goal with different destinations. The Green Destinations pilot program offers an opportunity for destinations managers to join in and have a seat at the table.
The program, currently active in 60 countries, uses recognized principles and the re-known Sustainable Development Goals to support destinations in implementing suitable solutions and in delivering sustainable and responsible tourism, while actively involving their local community and business sector. It assists different destinations in sustainable tourism development in the following ways.

The different sectors include;

● Destination management, monitoring, training, and support; uses 30 criteria guidelines
● Green Destinations Awards; uses 85 criteria and four advance levels; Bronze, Silver. Gold & Platinum Awards. Top 100 Competition, GSTC certification
● On-site training; get assistance from coaches
● Involving your tourism businesses; using the Good Travel Guide to increase visibility and make business more responsible.

List of the benefits of joining the Green Destinations pilot program

Who can participate in the program?
Municipalities, cities, counties, protected areas such as parks, conservancies, and private destinations. Local tourism communities can also participate.

For inquiries please contact Mercy Onyango on or Call 0726366080

Ecotourism Kenya welcomes you to join the Green Destinations Pilot Program


Promoting carbon neutrality for a better future.

Quoting United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on emphasizing carbon neutrality by 2050 via Le Monde:

‘…Second, we need to align global finance with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, the world’s blueprint for a better future. It is time to put a price on carbon; end fossil fuel subsidies and finance; stop building new coal power plants; shift the tax burden from income to carbon, from taxpayers to polluters; make climate-related financial risk disclosures mandatory, and integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal decision-making.  Banks must align their lending with the net-zero objective, and asset owners and managers must decarbonize their portfolios…’


Carbon neutrality is the balance of carbon emissions into the environment and their absorption by carbon sinks.  It is a state where there’s a net carbon footprint of zero. Carbon footprint, on the other hand, is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the environment by human actions. For example, the manufacturing of plastics, its remaking/redesigning, disposal, incineration, and transportation all emit large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. As there are limited carbon pits (places that absorb the released carbon like forests), there is the carbon that is left in the atmosphere. This in turn causes global warming. The negative domino effect continues to worsen climate, low food production, etc.

The road to carbon neutrality leads to a safer future for all of us than the one we have now. Less pollution of any kind, better waste management, protected animal and plant species, increase in employment, better living standards, improved weather, and climate among other benefits. That is what all the fuss is about. Sustainable tourism, no single-use plastics initiatives, circular economy and environmental protection among other concepts and techniques are striving to build a future that takes care of the environment and us.

As tourism slowly re-opens, should we do things differently this time?

Important decisions and policies such as linking global finances with Sustainable Development Goals as Mr. Guterres suggests, need to be made in order to prioritize and actualize achieving carbon neutrality. That can be slotted to an international and national level. Finding crucial factors that can prompt us to start making more sustainable options such as finances will be a strong foundation to building a better future. This endeavor will come to fruition when all the stakeholders come together and work at it side by side. More than the Corporate Social Responsibility activities tourism enterprises take part in such as tree planting exercises, we need to re-evaluate further in our businesses to adopt greener and more responsible actions. This will go a long way in encouraging others to take part in sustainable tourism.   Tourism is one of the sectors that earn Kenya a significant foreign exchange contributing to approximately 8.1 billion US Dollars to the Gross Domestic Product in 2019. It’s a pivotal avenue to adopt and grow a sustainable economy.

The circular economy is offering an opportunity to greatly reduce carbon emissions that are produced when materials are being manufactured. This is achieved by the several options that are provided by the circular economy; reusing, redesign, recycling, etc. For instance, instead of thinking to acquire a new item to fulfill a task, we are encouraged to use what we already have that can accomplish the task we want. This reduces the demand for primary extraction of resources which contributes to carbon neutrality. A good example is the city of Turku in Finland. Although they are doing great in adopting a green economy by using renewable energy, having low carbon transport and decarbonizing district heating, the carbon footprint for an individual is quite high; 4tCO2e per capita per year. This is according to the 1,5 Degrees Lifestyles Report by Sitra and IGES. Hence, they are already working into investing in a circular economy to challenge consumption-based emissions. At the local level, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and Sustainable Inclusive Business move forward in starting to implement the circular economy.

Make your positive contributions by joining the two movements below for a better future:

  • Launch of the Kenya Plastics Pact

  • The Kenya Plastic Action Plan





To mark World Tourism Day and month, GreenTour Kenya has had exciting events. This year’s theme; Tourism for Inclusive Growth, looks at initiating and progressing development in different areas through tourism. GreenTour has touched on the community aspect as well as the mental well-being aspect lightly. There has been engagement from CBTOs and a hopeful online campaign. Let’s take a look at the activities.

Happy World Tourism Day


GreenTour Kenya project encouraged its participating community-based tourism organizations to put together tree planting activities to commemorate World Tourism Day.


As the day brings different tourism entities in the entire world to focus on Tourism for Inclusive Growth, staff of this forest trust took time planting trees to symbolize hope. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic having drastic effects on the tourism sector, they are more hopeful and optimistic that the world will open up and that the future is bright. These trees of hope serve as a reminder of their resilience and how they have survived during the hard pandemic times.

Ngare Ndare tree planting exercise


Women from the cultural center got together and spent the day planting 100 trees on their aloe farm. The women have been working together on many tourism-related activities at the cultural center. Celebrating this year’s World Tourism Day together was an additional expression of their cooperation and commitment to managing their tourism enterprise.

Tree planting activity at Twala Tenebo


Tell Us Your Story

Passing on the energy of resilience through storytelling was the objective of the online campaign. In addition, it was also a venue to share positivity and encourage one another to keep holding on to the hope of the situation getting better.

Ecotourism Kenya through the GreenTour Kenya project managed to compile a collection of eight stories from within the tourism industry in Kenya. The ranges of submissions were from individuals to tour operators and hotels. The campaign was run on our social media channels from 15th-24th of September 2021.

All the stories can be accessed on the YouTube channel of Ecotourism Kenya: @ecotourismkenya through the following link: