Kenya’s Tourism Sector Among the Beneficiaries of the UNESCO Program

Kenya’s Tourism Sector Among the Beneficiaries of the UNESCO Program

By Jane Muia / Published November 8, 2022 | 4:50 pm

Kenya is among the eight nations that will benefit from the UNESCO covid 19 crisis response program, which is geared towards supporting tourism recovery from the pandemic, leveraging on UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Lamu Old Town and Fort Jesus.

The program is also supported by the Kenya tourism board and the National Museum of Kenya. Other countries that were selected include Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Georgia, Namibia, and Morocco.

Kenya boasts numerous cultural sites and is home to seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The UNESCO program will create short-term jobs for youth in the hospitality sector for cultural heritage safeguarding and maintenance interventions in selected world heritage properties.

“The project themed around promoting sustainable tourism and private sector engagement for inclusive community development, in response to the Covid crisis, is focused on Unesco heritage sites of Lamu Old Town and Fort Jesus in Mombasa,” UNESCO national program officer (East Africa) Judith Ogana said.

The program will also offer training and conduct capacity building for tourist guides and craft-making sectors with a particular focus on women and youth through the development of micro-accreditation schemes.

Sensitization of the project commenced in Lamu and Mombasa where it was warmly welcomed by various stakeholders in the tourism sector including the Lamu county governor Issa Timamy who said it was key in supporting tourism recovery around Lamu.

”I pledge my support to the UNESCO Sustainable Tourism initiative and commit to sustainably enhancing the Lamu Tourism sector by ensuring robust community engagement, training of tour guards and artisans as well as private stakeholders’ engagement to ensure a significant impact on the county’s economic growth ,” said Timamy.

Kenya’s tourism sector is an important contributor to the country’s economic growth. It is a major source of direct and indirect employment and it has a multiplier effect on other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and services.

The COVID-19 pandemic saw tourism earnings dip by 3.9 percent from 163.6 billion shillings in 2019 to 91.7 billion shillings in 2020. The decline was attributed to travel restrictions that led to reduced international and domestic travel, and the closure of hotels and social amenities.

This year’s earnings are expected to surge, with the number of international tourists visiting the country between January and August growing by 91.3 percent to 924,812, from 483, 246 in a similar period last year. This saw the sector’s earnings more than double to hit 167 billion shillings from the 83 billion shillings recorded in a similar period last year.

The ministry projects an increase in the number of total arrivals this year to 1.4 million, an increase from the 870,467 recorded at the end of December last year when the country was still battling the effects of the covid 19 pandemic.

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