BOMAS OF KENYA

Ideal time to boost cultural tourism

It's important to preserve the practices of our communities for the sake of future generations.

In Summary
  • The framers of our Constitution underlined the critical importance of culture in a progressive society.
  • When young people learn, experience and appreciate our rich diverse cultural values, that is one way of improving our nationhood.
Kakamega Boys thrill fans at Bomas of Kenya during the Kenya Schools and Colleges National Drama Festival.
Kakamega Boys thrill fans at Bomas of Kenya during the Kenya Schools and Colleges National Drama Festival.
Image: FILE

Recently, Kenya marked 10 years since the promulgation of the Constitution and Bomas of Kenya featured prominently as the place where the document was conceived, created and compiled.

Because of this historical connection, many Kenyans associate Bomas of Kenya with the nation’s reform journey. Few, however, know that it is a public institution that was mooted in 1971 for the sole purpose of preserving, maintaining, educating and promoting Kenya’s diverse cultures. The institution remains the leading custodian of Kenya’s diverse cultures.

Why is culture important? The framers of our Constitution underlined the critical importance of culture in a progressive society. Article 11 recognises culture as the foundation of the nation and as the cumulative civilisation of the Kenyan people. With the current growing interest in cultural heritage globally, growth in cultural tourism has increased a positive worldview of the importance of cultural resources as a tool for economic development while preserving cultural resources.

As a nation, therefore, it is incumbent upon us to devise innovative ways of promoting all forms of national and cultural expression through literature, the arts, traditional celebrations, science, communication, information, mass media, publications, libraries and other cultural heritage.

Covid-19 has, however, slammed the brakes on this promising development. The major disruptions on the global economy, especially to the travel and tourism industry, are immeasurable.

Nonetheless, tourism remains Kenya’s top foreign exchange earner, hence, one of the country’s economic mainstays. The industry depends on people and as we think of how to make it sustainable post-Covid, local communities will be critical in this paradigm shift.

This is why we must pool our resources and promote cultural tourism to boost the country’s domestic tourism prospects now that international travel has taken a dip.

Our Constitution recognises the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation and the need for us to promote the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya.

Such a move will not only trigger the process of reviving the dwindling fortunes of the sector, but it will also foster unity and national cohesion.

In the words of Tourism Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe, time has come for state authorities to focus on the interface between tourism, culture, conservation and the use of natural resources for sustainable livelihoods. There is no better institution that can play a pivotal role in the development and promotion of cultural tourism in this country than Bomas of Kenya.

As the country prepares for a post-coronavirus phase, let us strategically embark on promoting local tourism through our cultural heritage and expand our attraction sites. I am certain that having been confined to our homes over the last seven months, families in western Kenya will be enthusiastic to learn the cultures of their counterparts in the coastal region and the other way round.

It is important that the practices of our various communities are preserved, maintained and promoted for the sake of our future generations through our cultural resources preservation and management policies. When young people learn, experience and appreciate our rich diverse cultural values that is one way of improving our nationhood.

Indeed, Vision 2030’s Social Pillar talks of building a just and cohesive society that enjoys equitable social development in a clean and secure environment - a good living ground for unity and national cohesion.

Our Constitution recognises the role of science and indigenous technologies in the development of the nation and the need for us to promote the intellectual property rights of the people of Kenya.

This noble realisation will best be achieved when we all roll up our sleeves to promote cultural tourism to boost Kenya’s sustainable development in post Covid-19.