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KTB to partner with counties

31 January 2014, 12:33 Arap Yego

The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has announced that it will work closely with the various County governments in the country and help the devolved units identify and market both locally and internationally the tourism sites in the regions, KTB’s Product Manager, Fred Okeyo has said.

Speaking on Thursday when led a team from KTB and other officials from the tourism industry who paid a courtesy call to  Bungoma Governor Kenneth Lusaka at his office, Okeyo said he was hopeful that the collaboration between the parastatal  and the individual counties will open up new tourism frontiers.

“With counties being smaller units, we hope they will correctly and effectively identify new potential tourism frontier sites in the regions that will be ideal for domestic and foreign tourists, that were hitherto unknown,” said Okeyo, at the session which was also attended by  Bungoma County executive for Tourism and Natural resources, Teresa Nakhungu Barasa.

Okeyo said KTB's central role remained not only marketing of the country's tourism attractions, but also focusing on the  development of new tourism destinations circuits in the counties especially those with unique cultural heritage backgrounds  that would enhance the country's appeal globally.

The collaboration framework between the counties and KTB according to Okeyo will be completed soon to pave way for implementation of the ambitious venture that is expected to generate extra revenue for the County governments.

Governor Lusaka welcomed the initiative from the parastatal and announced that his government was investing heavily in road infrastructure to open up Mt Elgon which has rare flora and fauna alongside rich scenic sites whose tourism attraction potential he noted remains largely untapped.

Lusaka disclosed that he has held talks with the Kenya Airports Authority and asked them to finance the upgrading of the Webuye and Bungoma town Airstrips for use by tourists keen on visiting the region.

He said the County government was also investing in a high altitude athletics training centre in Mt Elgon, which they believe  would be a further boon to tourism fortunes in the western circuit.

“We have also started the reclaiming of historical and cultural sites for rehabilitation and development into tourism and cultural heritages sites. Bungoma has a huge untapped tourism potential that will not only greatly benefit the residents once fully harnessed, but also give the County government a lot of revenue,” said Lusaka.

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