KENYA LEADS THE WAY IN ECO-TOURISM
Kenya is one of the global leaders in community-based ecotourism,
working with the many local tribes to develop innovative ways to protect the environment
and local culture.
A leader in innovative eco-lodges, Kenya has won many international
eco-lodge awards. Il N'gwesi and Tortillis Camp both won the British Airways Tourism
for Tomorrow award in recent years. Ol Donyo Wuas was a finalist for the same
award this year.
Kenya is ahead of the ecotourism pack in other areas as well,
planning to be Africa's first country to develop and use international criteria
to rate eco-lodges and tour operators.
Started in October 1999 by Dr. David Western and Neel Inamdar,
The Ecotourism Society of Kenya hopes to complete the "eco-ratings" in 2002, giving
Kenya's tourists an opportunity to choose a 3 star or a 4 star eco-lodge, based
on internationally accepted criteria. These criteria also provide Kenya's eco-lodges
and tour operators the tools they need to compete in the global market as one
of the world's top ecotourism destinations.
Kenya also received a recent international ecotourism coup when
The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), representing an international membership
network that includes tour operators, academics, and government officials in 110
countries, recognised East Africa's reputation for strong ecotourism practices
and chose Nairobi as the venue for the International Year of Ecotourism (IYE)
African ecotourism conference.
The United Nations has declared 2002 as the International Year
of Ecotourism (IYE), providing a forum for the world to understand the synergy
between conservation, cultural awareness and community benefits through tourism.
TIES chose six global locations for the regional conferences, offering the opportunity
to critically assess ecotourism's future in each region. Findings from the March
20-22 Nairobi ecotourism conference will be represented at the May 2002 World
Ecotourism Summit in Quebec City, Canada, allowing Kenya's best ecotourism practices
and ideas to be heard globally.
Anne Loehr, director of Eco-resorts, an eco-friendly safari operator
that creates environmentally and culturally orientated (eco) trips is sold on
the future of Kenya's ecotourism. "I have traveled all over the world visiting
eco-lodges and working with the best people in the global ecotourism market. Kenya
has some of the brightest minds working together to create a sustainable future
for the environment and local culture. There's no better place to experience ecotourism
For more information on Kenya's ecotourism, please contact The
Ecotourism Society of Kenya (ESOK) at 02-229970 or www.esok.org.