In Kenya, the environment and tourism have always been inextricably linked, and this is a truly symbiotic relationship. Wildlife in particular has always served as one of our major tourist draw cards, and the resultant revenue has played a major role in the great priority placed on wildlife preservation in Kenya.
This is not just for the benefit of foreign visitors- Eco-tourism means more than just preserving wildlife for our visitors, it also means protecting
Our own world and its resources for the future benefit of Kenya, our people and our wildlife.
Eco-tourist and community wildlife and conservation ventures offer the visitor a personalized and rewarding wildlife experience that gives them a chance to appreciate, respect and protect our country’s wildlife.
Genuine eco-tourism means tourism that has no negative impact on eco-systems, and positively contributes to the destination on a social and environmental level. Visitors should learn from their experiences and develop a greater understanding of the issues and challenges of preserving this great natural heritage for generations to come.
Kenya’s dedication to eco-values sets it apart from many other African destinations. This has again been proved by the “Eco-Ratings” scheme- a project by the Eco-Tourism society of Kenya (ESOK) www.ecotourismkenya.org.
This pioneering scheme- the first of its kind in Africa- means that Kenya’s hotels, lodges and camps will be able to apply for a special rating- which will rate their level of eco-friendliness.
Community based tourism and eco tourism is a growing sector, globally. It currently accounts for 5% of the global tourism market and is growing at a rate of 20-30% annually. Increasing numbers of tourists want to interact with local communities and they want to stay in places that positively impact on both the environment and the local population.
Throughout Kenya there is growing awareness of the benefits of community based tourism projects. Communities that have allowed access to their land have seen their lifestyles improved through increased revenue through wages, land leases and development funds. Many projects have built boreholes, schools and clinics for the local community.