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Kenya to promote migration of wildebeest and humpback whale

NAROK (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s Tourism Ministry on Sunday launched twin migration campaign that will promote the wildebeest movement in two game parks in the East African nation.

Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, said the campaign which will take place at the world’s famous Masai Mara National Reserve and the humpback whale migration in Watamu Beach seeks to position Kenya as a home of two naturally iconic and spectacular tourism attractions.

"The annual wildebeest migration remains one of Kenya’s most spectacular tourism attractions. Alongside the wildebeest migration, we have the annual migration of humpback whales from the Antarctica into the East African coast," said Balala who witnessed the annual wildebeest migration at Masai Mara National Reserve.

He said the ministry through the Kenya Tourism Board, is working with well-known wildlife photographers to showcase the natural wonder of the twin migration along with Kenya’s authentic and diverse tourism product offering.

Balala said his ministry is currently formulating a detailed tourism development strategy for the Masai Mara, which will include a policy on standards of vehicles permitted to access the reserve, vehicle capacity limits during various seasons of the year, as well as a Sustainability Strategy for the reserve.

"The ministry of tourism and wildlife is committed and steadfast in its efforts to improve management of Maasai Mara in order to enhance the visitor experience for tourists coming into the reserve.

"We believe that Maasai Mara has the potential to attain the status of a World Heritage Site," he said.

The East African nation is home to seven world heritage sites that include Lamu Old Town, Fort Jesus in Mombasa, the Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests, Mount Kenya National Park and natural forest, the Kenya Lake system in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Turkana National Parks and most recently, the Thimlich Ohinga Archaeological Site in Migori County.

Meanwhile, Balala also announced that Kenya’s tourism industry is on a steady growth path, adding that hotels within Maasai Mara are currently fully occupied.

He said they anticipate the tourism peak season will see record visitor numbers both at the Maasai Mara and at the Coast.

"Most hotels in the Mara are recording 98 percent occupancy levels. We urge tourists visiting the Coast to extend their tour to Watamu where they will witness the ongoing migration of humpback whales along the Coast." said Balala.

By the close of the 2017/2018 financial year, domestic bed nights stood at 3.67 million bed nights compared to 3.64 million in 2016/17, illustrating a growth of 1.1 percent, it said.

The ministry attributed the increase to improved security, continued confidence in the destination and the establishment of modern transport infrastructure such as the Chinese-built Standard Gauge Railway among others.



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