VICTOR BWIRE: Tourism potential in Baringo county a tip of Kenya’s unique brand

A lot is happening in the country that is changing the lives of many.

In Summary

• Our strength as a county lies in the business and hospitality industry.

• These unique naturals and cultural events have the potential to bring huge numbers of visitors to Kenya.

Baringo County.
Baringo County.
Image: THE STAR

Kenya’s brand potential for marketing and tourism attraction is amazing.

In addition to the beach focus in our tourism marketing, there are exciting sites, natural events and cultural uniqueness that if well branded and jointly showcased will transform that sector hugely.

Our strength as a county lies in the business and hospitality industry, and as we work on improving the lives of our people, we need to many times apply some principles of development journalism and media as an agent of social change.

A lot is happening in the country that is changing the lives of many.

There is a great need for county governments, the national government and relevant national public institutions to profile and aggressively promote some of this potential for both pulling crowds to these counties and investments sites.

These unique naturals and cultural events have the potential to bring huge numbers of visitors to Kenya and provide massive opportunities to Kenyans in various ways, which we need to showcase.

In addition, well-profiled media programs will help Kenyans understand our country, the various investment possibilities and impress people to travel locally to enjoy our various.

It would be interesting to see media focusing on some of these recreational sites and tourist attraction sites outside the traditional beach and wildlife sites. 

As the media plays its watchdog role, it might also be helpful to assist in creating awareness of Kenya's offerings, attract high-quality tourists while growing and developing mutually beneficial relationships with key players in the global hospitality space.

Those with information need to share it with the media proactively so that media carries big stories about these various international events that the country is hosting, which not only adds to its positive image but the much-needed credibility and endorsement following the past terrorist attacks and cumbersome conditions that saw a number of investors either leave or shun the country.

A recent visit to Baringo County just showed us the great that the county and others have, and how if that is jointly promoted and branded locally and international, those sites can help in the development of these areas. 

The county has unique impressive scenic views and products that would attract any visitor, both local and international – the egg boiling and natural spa hot springs and geysers in Lake Bogoria and Kapedo, Lake Kamnarok and Lake Bogoria National Reserves, Cheploch Gorge, Flamingos in Lake Bogoria, Large Species of Birds, and magnificent hills and Mountains.

The County boasts of high-class tourist resort Centres, among them Soi Safari Lodge, and Lake Bogoria Spa Resorts. 

The hot springs easily boil your eggs in 11 minutes at 98 degrees while the roads to the places are great.

In addition to the white crocodiles in Lake Kamnarok to the reptile park- I had the opportunity to see and feel unique snakes and pythons in the area- to the flamingos and dik-diks, buffalos, leopards to the giraffes.

And while the recent floods nearly destroyed the Soi resort along Lake Baringo, the Spa Resort Bogoria still stands strong and beautiful.

Lake Bogoria has a 30 km stretch lying beside Bogoria mountains, which exciting scenic views that would excite even the most bored person in the world.

The Endorois, Ilchamus Pokot and Turkana cultural dancers are at hand to entertain visitors as the Koriama goats easily and calmly provide salty meat to those whose nyama choma appetite is big.  

A taste the natural honey from the place, or the sweet fruits especially the pawpaws, and surely, you wonder why these places are not leading on our branding and promotional activities as a country

Among the major challenge to turning around Kenya's brand relative to tourism has been the haphazard way we have reacted to the negative publicity generated as a result of terrorism and related insecurity incidents. 

Many times, the approach has been to stay silent and hope the negative news stories will miraculously disappear.

Insecurity is a global challenge and with intensified intelligence-based approaches, the incidents can be minimised and avoided. 

We need to beef security in those areas instead of isolating them

That Baringo and other counties including the Western Tourist circuit have not received big media coverage and publicity just talks to the existing challenge that has been noted in the sector: We have failed to market the diversified nature of the Kenya brand.

In addition to the traditional tourism products Kenya has, the country has a lot more to offer; consumers need to know that there is much more than the beach and wildlife to promote other tourist-related opportunities.

That Kenya is East Africa's commercial hub needs to be highlighted. That Kenya is home to the finest athletes' needs massive exposure.

That Kenya is a steppingstone to the EAC and CO MESA markets need top of mind presence.

That Kenya has the highest concentration of universities must come out. With the current investments by the government in improving the railway, road network and related, joint efforts and initiatives are the only missing link and targeted development journalism interventions, to expose the county to more avenues for direct foreign investments and increased incomes in the tourism sector, both targeting local and international visitors across the country.