#KENYA’S TOURISM MINISTER BALALA URGES PRIVATE SECTOR TO STEP UP SUSTAINABILITY
(Posted 30th September 2019)
Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Mr. Najib Balala has called on the tourism private sector to take the lead on sustainable tourism to better grow their businesses and the industry at large.
Speaking at the 14th edition of the Eco Warrior Awards, on the eve of World Tourism Day, Balala said sustainable tourism has the biggest impact in creating jobs and improving livelihoods for local communities.
According to the Tourism Agenda 2018-2022, tourism contributes about 11% to Kenya’s GDP and about 12% to Kenya’s employment.
Singling out the Plastic Ban Law, Balala noted that the ministry is already observing great change among tour operators and their efforts in keeping the parks and beaches plastic free.
“This Plastic Ban Law that the president has asked us to enforce by 05th of June 2020 should be driven by the industry itself and led by you the Eco Tourism Society of Kenya,” said Balala.
In line with UNTWO’s global theme of “Tourism and Jobs: A better future for all’, Eco Tourism Awards recognize employers within the tourism sector whose businesses have made a social impact within their destinations through best tourism practices.
Among the winners of the night were 2019 Tourism and Green Jobs Eco Warrior, 2019 Social Impact Eco Warrior Basecamp Explorer Kenya and Gamewatchers / Porini.
2019 Green Tourism Champion in the Resource Use Efficiency: Lake Elementaita Serena Camp, Ngare Ndare Forest Trust and Kicheche Mara Camp, 2019 Green Tourism Champion in Tour Operations: Sunworld Safaris and Let’s Go Travel – Uniglobe, 2019 Green Tourism Champion in Minimization of Single Use Plastic: Kichwa Tembo and Mara Bush Camp. 2019 Sustainable Tourism Change Makers award went to an individual David Marenya and the Overall winner of the night was: Let’s Go Travel- Uniglobe.
“The Eco Warrior Awards are an indicator of the great strides the industry has made in pushing for sustainable tourism as the list of participants have grown with every year since its inception,” stated C.E.O Eco Tourism Kenya, Ms. Grace Nderitu before adding: “We are proud that we are able to act as a link of the tourism industry, communities and conservation while promoting responsible management of resources”.
Founded in 1996 as Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK) and later adapting the name Ecotourism Kenya (EK) in 2006, EK was the first ecotourism society in Africa and a leader in the fields of voluntary tourism certification, and community asset building through tourism projects.
It is also involved in sustainable tourism planning, and campaigns, community mobilization and sensitization, product identification and development and environmental/social audits.
EK works in partnership with many professionals from its membership. It enjoys support from the Ministry of Tourism, Kenya Tourism Board and tourism practitioners. It has over the years enjoyed support from development partners including UNDP, NEMA, Tourism Fund, CBI Netherlands, AWF and FORD Foundation. With nineteen years of experience in ecotourism, EK has an intimate understanding of both the complexities and unique opportunities that ecotourism can provide to local populations, the environment, investors and the business of tourism.
Through a strong social, business and environmental awareness EK has been able to cater for its membership and industry. It has provided relevant and practical guidance for attaining sustainable solutions to challenging issues in tourism development to both communities and tourism practitioners.
Equally important has been the creation of lasting partnerships with tourism practitioners and interested parties. EK acts as the confluence of the tourism industry, communities and conservation while promoting responsible management of resources.