For the last 10-15 years, ecotourism in Laikipia has played a significant supporting role in efforts to conserve wildlife, contribute to the economy, and preserve landscape. Private and community ranches increasingly view tourism as a business tool to increase the value of their land and to generate additional economic and livelihood benefits.
For 10+ years, the LWF provided ecotourism marketing, promotion, and guided community tourism investments using donor funds. With the departure of donor funds, and given the dramatic increase in domestic tourism, Meetings/Incentives/ Conference/Exhibition (MICE) tourism and the growing demand for adventure tourism associated with the landscape, the Laikipia tourism model needed to rethink itself in the context of devolution, employment, business development and growth. In 2015, LWF sponsored the first legislation and public hearings in support of a sustainable tourism in the County.
During the same period, a Task Force of public officials and private sector business contributed to the development of a Sustainable Tourism Master Plan for the County. The Plan calls for passage of supportive tourism legislation, appointment of an inter-departmental body to coordinate tourism issues within the County sectors, formation of a Public-Private Board to steer tourism development in the County, and appointment of the LTA. To date, only the LTA has been adopted and appointed.
1.) To be recognized as the most diversified, sustainable tourism destination in East Africa.
2.) Adopt global tourism standards that support environment, culture, economic and social benefits.
3.) Establish an association of tourism providers and destination managers that can interface effectively with County and National government and counterpart associations.
4.) Realize the goals and objectives of the Laikipia Tourism Master Plan.
5 Year Objectives
- Advocate/lobby on issues impacting sustainable tourism in Laikipia
- Represent the industry at national and county government
The Role of the FORUM
The FORUM has been asked to play a secretariat role to the operations of the LTA for the foreseeable future. These services include the normal suite of support services provided by the FORUM when it acts as a secretariat to Laikipia landscape-based partnerships and associations.
The LTA is already a partnership of private sector tourism operators, service providers, destinations, and individuals. We expect this partnership to grow based on the performance of the LTA. The greater Laikipia landscape hosts more than 140 potential subscribers. Key to the success of this public-private partnership will be the engagement of County Government, and regional/national authorities that set the stage for investment and create enabling environments for sustainable tourism business development.