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Governor plans to make Narok a tourist destination

26 April 2013, 14:46 Kelvin Wanjohi

With a well-established Masai Mara tourism circuit, Narok governor Samuel Tunaihas plans to make the county a major tourism destination. Tunai intends to form a marketing board that will help to widen the marketing scope of the largest income earner to the county.

“Maasai Mara is dubbed as one of the seventh wonders in the world. We should take advantage of it by improving the infrastructure leading to game reserve and market it both locally and internationally," said Tunai.

 But the World acclaimed tourism destination is not devoid of challenges that needs to be addressed as a matter of concern. Chief among them is infrastructure especially roads, poverty in the communities, high levels of illiteracy while revenue loopholes must be sealed. In addition the county leadership must work with the tourism ministry to ensure that some of the revenues accruing from tourism are ploughed back to develop the county.

 According to Tunai, marketing board will develop and grow the market of the world famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve within the country and abroad. The county gets billions of money annually from tourism sector, but there is nothing that reflects this in the livelihoods of residents, atide he vows to change.

Tunai says the move will enable the game reserve expand its potential by attracting more tourists annually and increase revenue collection that will improve livelihoods of many in the county.

 The county boss said his government will also revive tourist attraction sites as a way of creating employment to the many jobless youths in the county. Besides the Masai Mara Game Reserve there are numerous heritage sites all over the county.

For instance, the masaai culture is a big attraction, Narok town boosts of the old colonial Asian school, the Italian barracks, the old colonial prison, General ole Kisio massacre point, and the Maasai traditional court administered by paramount chief ole Sankale among others.

Out of more than 1.2 million tourists visiting Kenya annually, 700,000 tourists visit Maasai Mara.

Tunai lamented that despite Narok being rich in resources, the locals have continued to lag behind in development because lack of visionary leaders.Narok is among the richest counties in Kenya owing to its many natural resources.Inapt leadership in the past has cost residents a lot as many live in poverty and illiteracy.

Narok town Central Business Association chair Dr David Sankoksays had the past leadership utilized properly revenue generated from tourism sector, in the county poverty would have been eradicated. “The sector has not been given the required attention that would attract more tourists in the county. Those in leadership have also benefitted themselves instead of channeling the monies collected to development,” he said.  

David Mpatiany a Narokbusinessman says the governor also needs to improve roads infrastructure since this is a main set back to the tourism sector.

“Though tourism sector has not been performing badly, poor roads are a hurdle that inhibits the sector perform to its maximum in Narok,” he says.

For instance there have been no efforts to improve roads leading to tourists sites including the one to Masai Mara. Narok is also an important large scale farming county and farmers have been experienced huge losses due to poor road network. Of concern also is rampant flooding that has been wreaking havoc every rainy season which Tunai said road engineers are working on the a permanent solution.

For the governor to achieve any meaningful development, he must block all conduits used in pilfering public money. Previously, individuals benefitted from revenue collected from tourism.

In bid to end corruption the former Narok County Council introduced the electronic ticketing system within the gates of Masai Mara. The contract was awarded to Equity bank.

The governor promised to uphold a transparent and accountable leadership that has no place for corruption. He said the county is now responsible in deciding its own destiny towards development or retain the status quo.

“This is a defining moment for the county lets all join hands and we will go far,” he said.

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