In a glorious, ocean-side ceremony at Diani, Laikipia County swept two awards during Ecotourism Kenya’s annual Eco Warrior awards ceremony. Constructed to complement the Kenya Tourism Board’s annual Kenya Tourism Marketplace, the Eco Warrior Awards recognise tourism players that support the environment, wildlife conservation, community, and local enterprise. The Laikipia County Government hosted one of the sustainable tourism Eco Warrior Awards for 2015.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy took the Judge’s Recommendation for best private conservancy. Ngare Ndare Forest Trust took the award for best Community Owned Enterprise.
Laikipia’s delegation was led by the County Secretary, John Mwaniki, and the County Secretary for Tourism, Trade and Enterprise, Jane Putunoi.
During the awards ceremony, LWF formally handed over Laikipia’s tourism website, www.laikipiatourism.com, to the County Government as a tool to assist in the promotion and marketing of tourism services in the county. LWF previously managed this website under its Tourism Programme.
“Eco-tourism is a key source of income for the County. This however, is affected by poor natural resource management systems, environmental degradation and inadequate knowledge by local communities due to lack of sensitization. Through the help of Laikipia Wildlife Forum, the Laikipia County Government is in the process of working with Eco-tourism Kenya to explore ways in which the county can enhance its position as Kenya’s sustainable tourist destination. It is through this partnership that Laikipia County attended the 5th Edition of the annual Magical Kenya Travel Expo. Following this milestone for tourism in Laikipia, the County Government will continue to work with all tourism stakeholders in promoting Eco-tourism,” said Alice Matu – Director of Tourism with the Laikipia County Government.
Tourism Bill Update
Kenya’s first county Tourism Bill, prepared by a County Task Force, and recommended by the County Executive Committee, now waits for the County Assembly to review and ratify the Bill. This needs to be completed before the end of December. The Bill provides the framework for sustainable tourism development in the County, and calls for an inter-departmental body to coordinate tourism development in County Government departments. It also makes provision for a Public-Private County Tourism Board and a 10 Year Master Plan.
Tourism Master Plan update
Two years ago, in anticipation of supporting tourism development in Laikipia County, LWF embarked on the development of a 10 year Master Plan. The Plan has now been fully drafted by a public-private tourism task force led by County Government and LWF. It awaits approval of the County Tourism Bill to allow for the vetting of the Master Plan with County residents and businesses.