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A survey of tour operators in the US, UK, and Germany who market tours to Kenya indicated that safari holidays are likely to experience the most rapid growth in the next five years; interest in trekking holidays to Africa is also expected to grow rapidly. These interests, however, do not favor specific countries.  Kenya will have to compete with other East and Southern African countries for these tourists.  Its strengths, according to the survey, are in its wildlife, guest accommodations, and nice beaches.  Its weaknesses include crime, political instability, and "bad press."  Other factors included "mass tourism," poor roads, lack of marketing [for tourism], and corruption (TTCI 1999).

In November 1999, ecotourism interests in Kenya held a workshop to discuss the country's prospects in that field and the issue of developing a successful ecotourism market.  According to the workshop summary, some participants felt that Kenya needs to establish a rating system or certification program to allow it to be marketed through international ecotourism channels on a wider standard and scale (KTF, 1999).  Doing so would allow safari and other environmentally-oriented tourism activities to address two of the major constraints idenfied in the survey mentioned above: the issue of "lack of marketing" of Kenya for such tourism, and "mass tourism," which causes environment-minded tourists to be concerned about sustainable impacts on fragile ecosystems.  

5.1.3. Community-based wildlife management programs.

A primary pressure on wildlife derives from the economic needs of rural communities, who are asked to forego agricultural, ranching, and other uses of land needed for parks or other protection mechanisms.  Community-based wildlife management is an approach developed to address this issue, yet it has not entirely fulfilled its promise. USAID and other donors have supported such approaches for more than a decade in the hopes that revenues from ecotourism, for example, could be directed more fully to these communities, thereby giving them an incentive to protect the animals.  Sadly, only a small percentage of the revenues are returned to local communities – an estimated 5 percent, for example, in the Laikipia-Samburu system – through these programs (Ndirangu 2000).   Some areas have achieved a better record and some a worse one; yet the consensus remains that the potential exists to achieve much more.  

Since CBWM is such a key component of many donor and NGO environmental protection programs globally, many conservationists see Kenya’s lack of CBWM results as a significant threat to the country’s wildlife protection efforts as a whole.  Many communities who have participated in wildlife protection schemes have become disillusioned and have regressed to using the damaging practices and behaviors seen before these efforts took place.  Some have maintained the new perspective, that wildlife is sometimes beneficial.  Changing such perceptions can be extremely difficult.  According to David Western (2000), former head of KWS, it is the biggest obstacle to wildlife conservation in Kenya, and yet Kenyans are widely aware of and proud of the country's natural heritage.  

5.1.4. Livestock/wildlife/people interactions.

Land use change throughout Kenya is having impacts on the numbers of wildlife existing both outside and inside protected areas and parks.  In addition, these shifts are impacting the nature of the interactions between wildlife, people, and livestock.  The ecosystems in which these conversions are occurring are also experiencing significant degradation, which may have even more profound and negative impacts on Kenya as a whole in the future.  For example, findings from one of the aerial survey analyses mentioned above indicate that not only have wildlife numbers declined widely, but there have also been declines in numbers of livestock, indicating that rangeland productivity in general is in steep decline (De Leeuw et.al. 1998).  Land and soil as a specific resource sector are discussed in more depth in Section 5.4.

Kara PagePage 1010/23/2006

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