, KISUMU, Kenya, March 13 – Kenya on Friday officially listed the village of US President Barack Obama’s family as a protected national heritage site in a bid to boost tourism.
An official gazette notice said the Minister of state for National Heritage and Culture had declared Nyangoma-Kogelo village a "protected area".
"All that area known as East Alego Nyangoma Kogelo parcel No. 364 measuring approximately 3.6 hectares, situated in Siaya District.. will be a protected area within the meaning of the Act," the gazette notice said.
The modest village near the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya was put on the world map by Mr Obama’s accession to the White House, attracting thousands of tourists despite the lack of infrastructure.
"Any objection to the declaration shall be lodged with the Minister within two months from the publication of this notice," the gazette notice said.
With swelling numbers of local and foreign tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of the homestead where Obama’s father was born and step-grandmother still lives, Kenya’s ailing tourism industry sees Kogelo as a golden opportunity.
"It basically means that the village is now a national issue in terms of historical and cultural acclaim and its profile as a tourism site is national and international," Jane Otieno, a tourism operator in western Kenya said.