, BERLIN, Germany, Mar 5 – Turkana County could emerge as one of the strongest marketers for Kenya’s tourism sector with its unexploited culture and the aspect of being the origin of mankind.
The fossil of the Turkana Boy that dates back to 1.6 million years has proven that this are the oldest remains of man in the world thereby making Turkana archeologically the origin of man.
The site of excavation has now been gazetted and a monument erected to preserve this bit of important history for man.
The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Trade and Industry, Phyllis Kandie while addressing international journalists during the ongoing ITB Berlin tourism fair said the unveiling of the Turkana boy monument this month in Kenya, will be monumental for both Turkana County and the Country.
“Our strategy has definitely changed, the unveiling of Turkana boy expected to take place this month, is the biggest opportunity for the county itself, the North Rift region and the whole country,” said Kandie.
Kandie said the monument will promote pilgrimage tourism whereby people will be flocking to Kenya to see the historical site of origin of man.
While Kenya has always marketed itself with the big five and the beaches along the coastal region, Kandie said the new strategy for tourism is to expand and diversify the tourism products.
“I want to encourage the counties to map out their various products within the circuits they fall under, so that as a country we have diversified products to offer to both local and international tourists,” says Kandie.
Kandie while visiting the Turkana Station at the Kenyan Stand noted the great tourism potentials the county has and said it was quite unfortunate that the world only new that the origin of man is in African and not in Kenya and specifically in Turkana.
“Turkana has beautiful and unexploited cultures which Kenya needs to tap and I like the vigorous dances which in their own right are aerobics,” said Kandie.
She urged that the traditional lifestyles and cultures should be preserved not only for tourists but for the generations to come and as a sense of pride for all of us.
Linus Ebenyo, the Chief Executive for Tourism, Trade and Industry for Turkana County displayed and explained the various products Turkana was marketing at the German fair.
The Turkana County team led by the Deputy Governor, Peter Ekai were also out to popularise the 2nd edition of the Turkana Tourism and Cultural Festival – Tobong’u Lore 2015 which will be held from August 27-30 in Lodwar.
Turkana Boy with the slogan of ‘Origin of mankind’ featured most at the station. It also featured on the overall programme for the Kenyan stand.
Speaking on phone from Lodwar, Governor Josephat Nanok said he was very excited that Turkana was going to give Kenya a turning point in the tourism sector.
“Having worked as an Assistant Minister for tourism in this country previously, I have always known that the change of strategy is what we needed. I am glad that we are now able to see that the products we have always marketed Kenya with are not exclusively unique and are available elsewhere in the World. The only thing Kenya has and will never share with anyone in the World is the Origin of mankind,” said Nanok.
Governor Nanok said the Turkana boy fossil currently preserved at the Kenya Museum in Nairobi will soon find its way back home to Turkana into an epic museum and probably the largest in the whole of the African continent, whose architectural plans are being drawn from the US with the help of Dr Richard Leakey.
Governor Nanok, said while Turkana has almost 56 tourism products, the brand his county should be identified with, is The Origin of Mankind.
Two weeks ago Turkana County signed two MOUs to strengthen and encourage infrastructure to support the tourist attractions. KICC comes in as a partner for conferencing, something that Kenya now finds as a type of tourism geared towards raising 20 percent growth of the total expected income from the tourism sector according to the CS Kandie.
While Kenya Tourism Board is a member of International Tourism Fairs, Kandie says, the Kenyan intention at the international markets is very clear.
“As a country we go out to the international Markets to look for some percentage which range from 30-50 percent. The rest of the percentage for tourists turn over we have dedicated to domestic, conferencing and investor tourism,” said Kandie.
The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism said this was a sure way to cushion Kenya from the uncertainties of foreign markets.
Responding to the general feeling of insecurity being a scare for tourists from visiting Kenya, Kandie said safety was relative the world over.
She said despite the fact that terrorism was a global war, Kenya was determined to secure its borders.
“We have put measures in place including recruiting more into the forces and also increasing the budgetary allocation for security,” said Kandie.
She said the situation and problems for Kenya are temporary and that things will look up very soon. She also noted that Kenya is slowly emerging very strong especially by mapping out an African market for its products.
Last year November, Kenya went to market and reassure the English markets in London, Excel and now is wooing the German and Swiss markets in Berlin.
Like Excel in London, Messe Berlin, is the contracted exhibition that handles this tourism trade fair for the German market.
This trade Fair begun in 1966 and still continues to grow strong and famous. In fact it is the largest and leading travel trade fair in the World, held every year. The second largest, is the World Travel Market, in Excel London.
In this year’s edition, 185 countries from all over the world including African Countries are exhibiting and over 10,000 people visiting. South Sudan, a fairly young nation is also participating.
The show closes on Saturday.