Situation Analysis & Competitive Advantage
Tourism and Hospitality - The Kenyan Context
Tourism is one of Kenya’s major foreign exchange earners contributing 8.1 percent to the country’s GDP in 2019. This was attributed to improved infrastructure, political stability, and enhanced domestic tourism marketing efforts that sustained the overall growth of the sector.
International visitor arrivals since 2019 increased to 2.0354 million surpassing the two million mark for the second successive year. This saw earnings from the sector increasing by 3.9 percent from USD 1.574 billion in 2018 to USD 1.636 billion in 2019.
The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic saw a sharp decline with international arrivals recorded at 426,158 in 2020 resulting in a drop in the sector’s contribution to the GDP down to 4.2%.
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.
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 develop the visitrutkanaland.com portal 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 Tobong’u Lore, a 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, the National Government’s Big 4 Agenda and the County Government’s mid-term Development Plan, 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
Construction of Resort City infrastructure and amenities at Eliye Springs in partnership with the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority