Kenyan feted for leading growth in eco-tourism
Posted Sunday, June 17 2012 at 14:29
Samson Parashina, a Kenyan conservationist, has been named as one of the six winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth 2012 award in a gala held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Mr Parashina, the chairman of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT), was feted for his efforts to conserve the Tsavo-Amboseli through green economy models at the Kuku group ranch, owned by the Maasai community.
The award comes within months after the Trust won the United Nations Development Programme’s “Equator Prize”, making it the first conservation body to bag the two awards in the same year. “The Maasai have lived for centuries and have adapted to a changing climate. We plan to create green jobs and protect the flora and fauna to create a future for generations to come,” said Mr Parashina.
Mr Parashina, a tour guide, leads the Trust that was singled out for its grassroots approach to conservation.
Launched in 1996, the organisation is the sole custodian of Campi ya Kanzi, regarded as one of the most unique and inspiring safari experiences in Africa. The luxury camp situated at the foot of Chyulu Hills combines the five-star hotel facilities with first-class wilderness adventure and Maasai culture. The camp was named by the news agency CNN as one of Top 10 luxury eco-lodges around the world.
The award is a boost to the Kenyan tourism industry, as the Tsavo-Amboseli ecosystem is a key attraction in the country for tourists.
The Kenya Tourist Board managing director Muriithi Ndegwa said the achievement would enhance Kenya’s image as a leading tourist destination in Africa.
Mr Parashina was nominated for the award by British actor Edward Norton, who serves on the board of Trust and is also a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for biodiversity. Among the six winners was the Mongolian president, Tsakhia Elbegdord and winning categories came from entrepreneurship, innovation, inspiration and ecotourism.
Previous winners of the award include former US vice president Al Gore and former presidents Felipe Calderone (Mexico) and Mohamed Nasheed (Maldives).