NAIROBI, December 27 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) on Saturday called on the private sector to introduce shuttle services to various national parks across the country to encourage domestic tourism.
Corporate Communications Manager, Paul Udoto said the recently launched Public service shuttle to national parks by KWS had been received overwhelmingly by the public in the last two days.
“In Nakuru it was full house, the people were so many and our buses could not accommodate the number of local tourists who were interested in getting into the park using the public means and it was the same thing in Aberdare and Nairobi national parks,” said Mr Udoto.
“Where the response is not as was expected is Naivasha where yesterday we had 13 people out of a 37 seater bus,” he added.
Speaking to Capital News, he also said it was evident that many locals wanted to visit the parks but were hindered by lack of transportation.
“For the festive season like in Tsavo West, the services will run everyday up to January 5, after which the service will only be available on weekends and public holidays,” he said.
This, he said, would also be replicated in Tsavo East, Aberdare, Nairobi, Hell’s gate and Lake Nakuru national parks.
The service shuttle serving Tsavo West national park was the latest to be launched three days ago and is offering a three –hour game drive in the expansive park at a subsidized fee of Sh300. This includes transport and park entry charges for local tourists.
The service was introduced to create recreational opportunities for local people so as to increase visitation to the parks as well as boost revenue collection.
“People are very happy with it particularly those who found it expensive to hire private vehicles to get into the park, they have been feeling a bit left out seeing richer Kenyans and foreigners getting in but now they have the opportunity to pay reasonable rates and see their own heritage,” he said.
Mr Udoto added that plans were underway to introduce similar services in other national parks and reserves across the country as part of an aggressive campaign to promote domestic tourism under the ‘know-your-parks’ campaign.
Kenya Wildlife service is a State corporation established by an act of parliament with the mandate to conserve and manage wildlife in Kenya. It has the sole jurisdiction over 26 national parks and oversight role in the management of 33 national reserves and private wildlife sanctuaries.