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Tourism Sector in Kenya


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Kenya has a rich tourism resource base with its magnificent coast line, 60 national parks and reserves, and many other breath taking attractions all over the country. This has made tourism an important economic activity in Kenya, attracting over millions of  international tourist in and earning the country billions of shillings.

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It is because of this great potential that the sector has been identified in the Kenya Vision2030 as one of the economic pillars that will drive the economy towards the Vision targets. In this respect, Kenya aims to be among the ten long haul tourist destinations in the world, offering a high-end, diverse and distinctive visitor
experience that few of her competitors can offer. To attain this goal, various investments are 25 planned to improve on tourism facilities and raise the quality of hospitality services in the country.
1. Isiolo Resort City
Isiolo resort city is one of the key flagship project in Kenya’s Vision 2030. It will be located at the junction of the LAPSSET Corridor headed to South Sudan via Lokichogio and Ethiopia via Moyale. Its location is very unique, because it is the center of Kenya geopolitically and shall serve as a traffic node. Moreover, there are many national parks and reserves such as Samburu, Shaba, Meru, and Mt.Kenya National Park within a radius of 30km from Isiolo for a one-day trip. Preliminary designs of the Resort City are ready and 2600 hectares of land has been earmarked for the project.
Project estimated cost:
The projected total cost of the whole project is US$ 184 million with US$ 101 million expected to come from the public sector while the remaining US $ 83 million is expected to come from the private sector. This will be in terms of investments in accommodation, entertainment and other tourists’ convenience facilities. The economic viability analysis for this project shows Economic Internal Rate of Return of 12.8 %;, Benefit cost (B/C) ratio of 1.08; net present value (NPV) of US $ 8 million.
2.Development of Marina at Shimoni, Mombasa
Kenya Tourist Development Corporation has commenced plans for the development of the first commercial Marina along the Kenyan South Coast in Shimoni approximately 73 kilometers from Mombasa town. The Marina development along the Kenyan coast was deemed by the Corporation to be a viable investment worth promoting in order to strengthen beach tourism recreational products through yachting activities. The proposed Marina will provide berthing for over 50 vessels and be built to recognized international specifications & safety standards.
Shimoni was chosen because it has a natural protection from all major waves and currents and also due to its proximity to Diani tourism resort with commercial, recreational and accommodation.
3. Bomas of Kenya Tourist Hotel Project
The idea of building fully fledged hotel at Bomas of Kenya was mooted in 1984. A 100-bed hotel was proposed with intention of extending the tourist itinerary circuit around Nairobi into the Bomas of Kenya for lunches, refreshments and entertainment. This site is close to Nairobi National Park and the Animal Orphanage. It is also off the way from vehicular traffic seen on Nairobi streets where other Hotels are located. Furthermore, the location is quiet and making it very ideal for conferences, workshops and seminars.
Project estimated cost:
Although a feasibility study was undertaken for a 5-star 100-bed hotel, current indications are that a 200-bed hotel of international standards would be a more ideal proposition. The Feasibility Study on the Project indicates that it will cost about USD 5.0 million to develop the 100-bed hotel project which will include a big Conference Centre, swimming pool, etc.
Consequently, the Government would welcome interested parties to invest in this Bomas of Kenya hotel project.
4.  Bomas of Kenya Amusement Park Project
The Bomas of Kenya is considering establishing the first Amusement Park in Kenya similar to such famous parks as the “Seven Flags Fly over Georgia” in Atlanta or Tivoli in Copenhagen. It is expected that the amusement park will be a great attraction to both local residents and foreign tourists, especially given the current limited forms of entertainment presently available.
The proposed amusement park will provide such diversions as a roller coaster, children playground, a continuous film in a “futuristic theatre”, fun fair with ferries wheel, dodgems, mechanical games and a vast swimming pool with several gigantic slides that can take several hundred people.
Project estimated cost:

The project is estimated to cost about USD 2.4 million. Much of this will  go in developing the above components of the project.
2.4.5 Health Spas Projects Health spas are known for their recreational and life rejuvenating features. This project aims at
utilizing the abundant geothermal springs for the development of health spas of international standards as major tourist attractions.
Kenya has plenty of geothermal springs whose mineral contents have the potential for the development of health spas to serve as tourist attractions as well as curative centres.
Geothermal mineral water springs are found in arid and semi arid areas such as Baringo and Turkana Districts within the Great Rift Valley and parts of Homa Bay District along the shores of Lake Victoria. These can be developed into very popular health spas.
Possible Project site:
The most significant hot water springs are found at or around the following places:
(i) Around Lake Bogoria (located about 270 km from Nairobi) and Lake Baringo (located
about 350 km from Nairobi). The lakes are within National Game Parks.
(ii) Around Lake Turkana which is at the borders of Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan. This area is
about 748 Km from Nairobi.
(iii) Olkaria and Eburu near Lake Nakuru which is famous for flamingos. Olkaria and
Eburu are about 118 Km from Nairobi.
(iv) Simbi on the shores of Lake Victoria, the second largest fresh water lake in the world. Simbi is 483 Km from Nakuru National Park. The area is close to Maasai Mara Game Reserve renowned for its wildlife.
These areas have natural and cultural attractions whose development can stimulate growth in the various locations.
Market: It is expected that the clients for Health Spas will be the local residents and foreign tourists visiting the various locations for other attractions such as yachting, game animals and rich culture of the communities living around them. With extensive Marketing, Health spa is expected to become part of package attractions to tourists and local residents.
6. Cruise-ship Project on Lake Victoria
Lake Victoria, which is the largest fresh water lake in Africa and second in the world, holds great potential to link the three East African states. The resources of the Lake have not been fully tapped. Potential exists for the development of cruise ship, water sports and floaters on the surface of the lake. The beaches along the shores are also ideal for hotels and clubs. Away from the lake shore, opportunities for lodges, tented camps and land sports exist for exploitation. For all these to be developed, there is need to provide adequate supportive infrastructure. The Lake region embraces the Western Kenya zone which is not well developed in terms of tourist activities. Given the above account that gives a brief touristic scenario of the Region, the cruise-ship project proposed hereunder for development could be considered.
There is an existing demand for cruise ship facility in this region. The project involves the installation of a luxury passenger vessel (5-star floating hotel) for upper class tourists comprising of 40 double cabins to accommodate 80 passengers. The floating hotel will provide additional accommodation facilities complementing the existing capacity in the region which is already overstretched. Luxury passenger boats can also be operated between Kisumu and Muhuru Bay with existing stopovers at Kendu Bay, Mfangano
Island and Rusinga Island all along the Lake shores. Now that the East African Co-operation (a regional economic integration organization for Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania) has been set-up, the operations of the proposed Lake Victoria cruise ship can also be extended to cover Uganda and Tanzania over time
Possible Project site:
The project will be operating in the waters of Lake Victoria with its operational base being at Kisumu town on the shores of the Lake.
Project estimated cost:
The project is estimated to cost US$ 2 million including cruise-ships, luxury boats, furnishing fixtures and working capital.
7. Mombasa Port Cruise-ship project
A report by Cruise Line International Association indicated that cruise sales of US$ 60 million per annum are feasible. This forecast was based on known potential interest in the future cruise holidays. In the past, Mombasa has been serving as a port of call for international cruise-ship itineraries. With the expected World development of cruise ship industry, a home ported cruise-ship for Mombasa is considered ideal. The port of Mombasa has all the required facilities and cruise-ship facilitation committee is continuously working to improve the existing facilities. Currently, Kilindini Harbor is being used by cruise ships but home-ported cruise ships could eventually be diverted to the Old Harbor.
8. Tana River Primate Lodge Project
This is expected to be 50 rooms 3 – star lodge located at a suitable site within the Tana Primate National Reserve in the Eastern Tana Basin. The development aims at Market: expansion as the park is located near existing coast tourism region. There is potential for development of other existing tourism products especially rafting and river cruising.
9. Thika Fourteen Falls Lodge Project
The Fourteen Falls on River Chania lies just outside the OL-Donyo Sabuk Game Park near the fast growing industrial town of Thika. The area is surrounded by large-scale coffee and DelMonte pineapple plantations. The project will provide lodge facilities to tourists visiting the slopes of Aberdare Mountains.
Project site:
The project will be located 15 Km East of Thika town which is adequately supplied with water, electricity and telecommunications services.
Project estimated cost:
The project is planned to provide 50-beds accommodation and is estimated to cost US$ 0.73 million.
10. Kora Lodge Project
This is in response to the need for lodge within this 1,800 sq.kms National Park which was the Home of Joy Adamson. This is expected to be a 50 room 3-star lodge to be located at a suitable site within the park in the Western Tana Basin. The objective is to open up the Eastern Tourism Circuit linked to the Meru tourism region, this shall create a lion safari circuit with a potential
for other products such as river rafting and cruising.
11. Sibiloi Lodge Project
A 35 roomed lodge of 2 – star category is proposed to be located as Sibiloi National Park in the N. Turkana which would increase utilization of this vast park and ease off tourist congestion in other parks with similar flora and fauna. It also targets tourists to the Northern Kenya and Southern Sudan regions. The National Museums of Kenya and the Kenya Tourist Board have in the recent past put efforts to develop a tourism product based on the “Cradle of Mankind” within this region. Therefore a lodge within the area would be ideal in enhancing the development of the product.
12.  Kerio Valley Lodge Project
A two star lodge has been proposed to be located at Kerio Valley National Reserve within Rift Valley lakes famed for the “golden mole”. Other products are scenery of a “valley within a valley” and the untapped unique cultural heritage of the Kalenjin.
13. Water Sport
Waterways in Kenya have not been fully exploited and developed as a leisure product. Therefore investment is required in the Western Kenya Circuit where the massive Lake Victoria connects the EAC countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, and in the coastal region in the Indian Ocean waters.
14.  Business and Conference Tourism Initiative
Kenya has a large potential for business and conference tourism as a major product owing to its location and ease of international connections. To harness this huge potential, there is need to build ultra modern convention/conference complexes, preferably in the coastal region which accounts for about 57 % of the total bed nights. To cater for increasing number of business tourists, the government together with the private sector stakeholders will promote investment in hotels by international chains in major towns; especially in the cities of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
Mombasa International Convention Center is one of such investment opportunity aiming at establishing a multipurpose convention center with a capacity of 3000 delegates. The project may be financed through infrastructure bond, Bi-lateral or under PPP  framework.



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