Private sector tourism in Laikipia has taken a strong move forward. Earlier this month, our county tourism service providers approved the formation of the Laikipia Tourism Association (LTA) – a collection of all types of tourism facilities and providers in the County with the aim of becoming the number one sustainable tourism destination in East Africa. A Managing Committee of the LTA was appointed.
Sustainable tourism is all about a commitment to doing business that benefits us financially, environmentally, socially, and culturally. It’s business that respects people and the environment in which we live and operate. And it seeks strong Public-Private-Partnerships.
Two weeks later, the LTA Managing Committee met to advance the development of this new Association. The LTA Managing Committee is a voluntary committee and will meet as necessary in the beginning, but only 3-4 times a year eventually.
The Committee advanced six major aspects of the Association in its inaugural meeting:
- Appointment of a Chair and Deputy Chair – LTA’s new Chairman is Ndegwa Gitonga, and its Deputy Chair is Sophie Grant. Both are active tourism providers in the County. Gitonga operates the renowned Sportsman’s Arms Hotel in Nanyuki, while Grant runs the revered El Karama Eco-lodge on El Karama Ranch.
- Recommendations for appointment of an Advisory Council who can help with networks, leadership and financing in support of sustainable tourism development in the County. Important sustainable tourism leaders and financiers are being contacted to serve.
- Appointment of a Membership Committee to address the future of membership within the organisation, their priority needs, membership subscription, and membership services.
- Appointment of a Fundraising Committee to serve as the point of contact and provide leadership on opportunities to raise funds nationally and internationally. The first proposal for funding support to Laikipia’s sustainable tourism will be submitted to the EU before the end of this month.
- Appointment of a Search Committee for a full-time LTA Manager who will lead the day-to-day activities of the Association. The successful candidate will link all tourism providers in Laikipia with each other, with County, national and regional authorities, similar tourism business providers, and manage any LTA grants.
- The Committee is working hand-in-hand with the leadership of the County Assembly to ensure passage of the all-important Laikipia County Tourism Bill. The Bill sets the stage for interaction of the County with the sustainable tourism community in Laikipia.
The next meeting of the LTA is May 11, 2017. LWF serves as secretariat to the LTA, and will continue to host its development with office space, finance and administrative services, communications, and information management.
We’re making tourism a stronger and vibrant part of Laikipia’s future – and that can’t be a bad thing.