Isiolo County Needs to Revamp the Tourism Sector
By Hassan H. Kunune,
Tourism is an endowment that is a serious natural gift; an ornament that can raise our county’s profile and make it worthy player in the tourism industry if efficiently and successfully managed. However, it is paramount that we first realize ourselves before we start talking of making any stride and possibly awaken our sleeping gold mine.
The talk of what we can do with the kind of potential we have would be the beginning of our road to becoming a huge player in the industry. Tourism can form a strong pillar for the attainment of vision 2030 and raise our bar higher as we seek to stamp our authority in the region. The potential is there but we need to invest more if we are to reap from the sector.
Our lodges, the wildlife, the rich and diverse culture of our NFD people have by far amazed the tourists that have visited the region. The many other products yet to be developed makes us the envied destination in the world but lack of either understanding or goodwill is denying us the privilege to make something out of nature’s gift.
It’s incumbent on us to develop ways of tapping these monumental resources to benefit our economy. There are brilliant minds out there who can be brought on the table and asked to give suggestions and ideas and the Tourism sector can be able to pick up and make a huge impact to the lives of many. We can create both direct and indirect jobs and improve the economy in ways unimaginable. What do we need to get Right???
Outreach is essence because on our own we can realize so little, we first need to get the inventory of our capacity and understand the policy framework on which we can operate to interrogate its level of success and determine how it can be enhanced and enriched with new thinking, approach and model.
Kenya Tourism Board is the country’s premier statutory institution mandated to show case Kenya’s tourism resources and seek market for it, it’s imperative we lobby KTB to feature Isiolo in it’s marketing campaign so as to raise awareness about its existence and it’s product line on offer. We could support such initiatives by providing them with videos and documentaries that highlight Isiolo’s area of historical significance which will be the campaign’s strongest show and emphasis, the same could be posted on KTB website so that any visitor could benefit Isiolo as well.
Kenya association of tour operators
Kenya association of tour operators is a significant player in the tourism industry and its importance cannot be overemphasised, Isiolo County needs to engage this outfit so as to benefit from it given million memberships base, KATO is the umbrella body that brings together all tour companies in Kenya and partnering with them will be critical, it serves as a bridge between tourist and the market and since KATO members are responsible for managing their client itinerary it will be prudent if they have all the information about isiolo county’s tourism products so as to correctly advise their client and convince them why this destination is superb in terms of offering.
The county authority should also make every effort to package Isiolo as a tourism destination differently as an alternative to the often overstretched and monopolized Maasai Mara while at the same time highlighting the great developmental stride in logistics that could very easily help in connecting Isiolo to the world and facilitate the travelers to Isiolo take advantage of the recently opened Isiolo international airport.
Building of an Interactive Website
In the technology era Isiolo has no excuse not to market its tourism potential using the internet because information empowers and absence from the cyber sphere is not only undoing but embarrassing as it depicts us as inherently analogue.
We can easily let the world know about us and all that we offer, the rates and every other related information from comfort of their home just by visiting the web portal.
Other than only offering a single line of service this lodges and game reserves could think outside the box by enriching its menu by bringing on board cultural tourism where locals could be allowed to organize cultural activities around the camps so that the travelers could share in the experience, this way a client feels he has been accorded value for their money.
Creating a flagship project
Isiolo county can think of creating a flagship project like the Maralal camel Derby or even Cultural festivals, this project could be done annually with possibly a week long activities that culminate in a major cultural show case involving all communities in Isiolo. We could of course think of a great trek along Ewaso Nyiro river course to explain our people’s migratory lifestyle informed by their nomadic way of life. This would allow the travelers a peep into this unique cultural phenomena, a trek that would culminate in a well organized cultural festival showcasing every aspects of our life.
This kind of approach will go a long way in helping open up Isiolo county, bring our communities together and foster cohesion thereby reducing inter-communal strife which has been Isiolo’s biggest undoing over the years.
Mr. Hassan Kunune is an Artiste and Corporate Communication officer at Bomas of Kenya.