Tourism and Hospitality

      Situation Analysis & Competitive Advantage

      Tourism and Hospitality - The Kenyan Context

      In Kenya, tourism is a major economic sector. The sector accounts for 10.4% of the country’s GDP, 5.5% of Kenya’s formal employment and contributes to 4.2% of the National Gross Fixed Capital Formation (Kenya Tourism Satellite Account, 2019). The sector is also instrumental in the social-economic well-being of the country’s citizens, with multiplier effects in trade, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and transport among others

      The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a decline in the sector’s contribution to the GDP (4.2%) with 426,158 international arrivals recorded in 2020. However, the government’s protocols to curb the spread of the coronavirus coupled with the implementation of the 2020 Sector Stimulus Programme and Tourism Recovery Strategies have seen a steady improvement in tourism arrivals.

      Source: Department of Immigration 2022

      In 2022 , Kenya record the arrival of 1,483,752 international tourists . This represents a 70.45% increase compared to 2021 arrivals of 870,465. The 2022 inbound receipts recorded an 83% growth to Kshs. 268.09 billion up from Kshs. 146.51 billion in 2021

      With the World Bank’s Country Economic Outlook Report dated December 2022 recording a strong recovery in the sector, Turkana County is uniquely positioned as a low-hanging emerging opportunity that can offer a differentiated product to both the domestic and international tourist market

      Tourism in Turkana County

      According to data from the Turkana County Department of Tourism, Culture,  Natural Resources, and Climate Change, the county receives a monthly average of 3,000 leisure and business t ourists .

      Coupled with the fact that Turkana County is endowed with the largest alkaline desert lake in the world, a rich cultural heritage, prehistoric sites that tell the story of the origin of mankind, wildlife, palm-fringed beaches and islands, the county’s potential to commercialize cultural, eco-sports, conferencing and water-based tourism remains largely untapped.

      Lake Turkana’s rich aquatic life and the wild animals roaming the western part of the County offer both local and foreign travellers a reason to visit this vast and undisturbed territory. The County also boasts Lake Turkana National Parks which constitute the Sibiloi National Park, the South Island and the Central Island National Parks all of which are now the UNESCO World Heritage site

      Strategic Interventions

      Strategic Interventions to boost tourism in Turkana County

      The Turkana County Government continues to support both domestic as well as foreign investors in the County’s tourism sector. As part of the effort to enhance Turkana’s competitiveness in attracting investment, some of the strategic interventions championed by the government include:

      • Direct investment of over USD 27.28 million between 2018 and 2022 in the diversification, marketing, and promotion of tourism in Turkana County. This includes the construction of a Tourism Information Center in Lodwar, eco-lodges, camping sites and a dedicated cultural center to cultivate heritage and the arts as a driving force for socio-economic development

      • Direct investment of over USD 15.28 million between 2018 and 2022 towards the conservation of the flora, fauna and wildlife resources in Turkana County as well as the promotion of biological diversity, environmental conservation, and sustainability

      • Investment in improving the security and access infrastructure to tourism sites in and around the county. This includes the LAPSSET corridor Resort City project, the rehabilitation and upgrade of the Eldoret-Kitale-Lodwar-Nadapal road and the rehabilitation of the 22 airstrips and airports in the county

      • Partnerships  with tour operators to promote the County’s attractions, tourist circuits, travel information and cultural experiences

      • Partnerships with over 300 registered cultural groups and the National Museums of Kenya to host the Turkana Cultural and Tourism Festival showcasing Turkana’s cultural heritage that attracts over 12,000 visitors annually

      Areas of Opportunity

      The Turkana County Government has established partnerships with the Kenya Investment Authority and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Through these partnerships, the County Government, in consultation with stakeholders, is constantly profiling and documenting domestic as well as foreign direct investment opportunities in tourism

      In line with the Kenya Vision 2030 and the County Government’s Nine-Point Development Agenda, the Turkana County Government invites interested investors and mid-sized startup enterprises to participate and develop opportunities in

      • Production of films and documentaries in and about Turkana

      • Marketing and promotion of tourist attractions and propositions in Turkana County

      • Establishment of birdwatching tourism (avitourism) in Loima Hills

      • Establishment of wildlife conservancies and an ostrich sanctuary

      • Desert safaris and water sports propositions in Lake Turkana around Eliye Springs

      • Operating eco-lodges in the Lake Turkana and South Turkana National Reserves

      • Establishment of eateries and recreational facilities in protected tourist areas

      • Value-addition to archeological sites, handcrafts, and cultural heritage in Turkana County

      • Construction of accommodation facilities in the Turkana Cultural Center complex

      • Construction of accommodation facilities in the National Parks and National Reserves

      For more information regarding the advisory services and incentives available in these investment opportunities, please contact the Turkana County Investment Promotion Unit.