, MERU, Kenya Jan 23 – The number of tourists visiting national parks in the country increased from 20,000 in 2017 to 26,000 in 2018 following the following the rehabilitation and construction of key roads leading to parks at a cost of Sh2.3 billion.
This resulted in an increase of 30 per cent in terms of visitors and 40 per cent in revenue from Sh75 million in 2017 to Sh108 million in 2018.
The 77 kilometers tourism roads project covered three components undertaken in Tsavo East National park, The Aberdares and Mt. Kenya National Parks according to KWS senior warden Isaac Mugo.
The Chief Administrative Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure Chris Obure said the roads will ease access to national parks and reserves in the country increasing the number of tourists visiting the areas further.
“These roads were given priority to increase access to the national parks and ultimately generate more money for the economy as a result of more tourists,” said Obure.
The First Counsellor EU’s delegation to Kenya Walter Tretton said the project will promote sustainable tourism and enable the country to diversify its tourism offering making the mountain accessible to less sporty persons instead of only the mountaineering specialists.
The European Union’s contribution towards the project, which was begun in 2013, was Sh1.5 billion according to the Infrastructure PS Julius Korir.
The money was used in paving parts of roads, tarmacking and the construction of a bridge in Tsavo East along River Galana which was initially not possible to cross during rains.
Speaking during the inaugural ceremony of the project at Mt. Kenya National Park, the PS also added that apart from improving accessibility, the project was also meant to improve security in the parks.