In order for the 50 Treasures of Kenya to make a significant contribution to Kenya’s development, the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust is pioneering the 50 Treasures of Kenya Initiative, a joint venture enterprise that rests on two major pillars.
The First pillar comprises of domestic and international marketing activities by using the 50 Treasures to adjust Kenya’s image and to promote the full range of its natural and cultural heritage. Its main target is focused towards increased tourist numbers and an expansion of tourism development throughout Kenya.
The other pillar incorporates a community development approach through sustainable tourism within the regions of the 50 Treasures of Kenya. Its goal is to advocate for a more even distribution of the benefits of tourism while giving the local population a bigger say and supporting the long term cultural and environmental conservation.
The dormant potential of tourism in Kenya
Kenya is currently far from utilizing its full tourism potential. On one hand, domestic tourism has not taken its rightfully expected role in tourism development within the country.This because most Kenyans are just beginning to understand, cherish and explore the beauty of their own country. On the other hand, the prevailing perception abroad of Kenya as a low-cost beach and safari destination restricts the number of tourists and lowers the perceived value of what can be experienced. Furthermore, many exceptional holiday activities in Kenya are still hardly known to most people. And finally, tourism is concentrating on an estimated 30 percent of Kenya’s surface only, leaving the bigger part of the country virtually unexploited for tourism development.
The Marketing Pillar
In order to help boost domestic tourism, improve the prevailing picture of Kenya abroad and promote new tourism activities and regions, the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust is carrying out research and documentation with the objective to cover the better and lesser known regions and attractions of Kenya in order to provide photographic illustrations and information of these areas.
This comprehensive collection of data will form the basis for all upcoming marketing activities by the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust. It will be also accessible to other organizations partnering with the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust in promoting Kenya and the 50 Treasures of Kenya.
Planned marketing activities include amongst others a campaign aimed at making Kenyans aware of the beauty and diversity of their country, the production of various merchandizing products such as postcards, a coffee table book and a DVD, promotional events within and outside Kenya as well as an online portal for promoting and providing comprehensive information on Kenya.
The Sustainable Tourism and Community Development Pillar
Tourism as one of the most important business sectors of Kenyan economy has to take on a lead role in achieving the national development goals such as those of Vision 2030.
It is the view of the 50 Treasures of Kenya Trust, that positive development effects are best reached by sustainable tourism addressing socio-economic, cultural and environmental conservation aspects as well as those related to building and encouraging national cohesion. Hence, the Trust is lobbying for a tourism that avoids damage to environment, economy and local cultures, creates lasting benefits to the local people and involves them in decision-making processes. In fact, the 50 Treasures of Kenya project endeavors to ensure that sustainable tourism brings a positive experience to all involved parties, i.e. tour operators and hotels, local communities and tourists alike.
As a first step, the project invites relevant stakeholders to a roundtable process to develop sustainable tourism standards for Kenya. The project will then launch pilot community development projects in some of the Treasures’ regions expected outcomes are local development plans that would eventually lead to the implementation of sustainable tourism in collaboration with local communities and other stakeholders. Successful results from the pilot projects are then evaluated and later replicated on a national level.