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Pay attention to game parks in the roads boom

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The Narok-Mai Mahiu road when it was being built: Some access roads to the Masai Mara need urgent fixing. Photo/FILE

The Narok-Mai Mahiu road when it was being built: Some access roads to the Masai Mara need urgent fixing. Photo/FILE 

By Wangui Maina

Posted  Friday, June 18  2010 at  00:00

Tourism and smooth roads are inseparable.

That the government is allocating major resources towards building roads across the country means travel is set to be a major beneficiary.

Last week, Finance minister Uhuru Kenyatta allocated Sh78 billion for infrastructure development, and it is expected roads will take a major portion.

Travelling across Kenya by road is becoming a smooth ride as the government boosts the investment.

The days of dreading travel to rural areas are fading as roads across the country are upgraded, opening up new destinations to the attention of people keen on adventure, fun, and games.

For that is what tourism is all about.

It is no use having attractive, or even world-wonder destinations if access is restricted thanks to poor roads.

The Sh78.6 billion budget for infrastructure in the 2010/11 Estimates is a 34 per cent improvement over the last fiscal year.

Some of the roads expected to be built are the Isiolo and Voi-Taveta sections.

The road to Isiolo will open up Northern Kenya and neighbouring national parks and reserves like Samburu, Shaba, Marsabit and Buffalo Springs National Reserves to more foreign and domestic visitors.

Under the Vision 2030, there are plans to make Isiolo a resort city and the government is planning an extensive transport system that will open up the country to Ethiopia.

While the Tourism ministry is perennially complaining about inadequate funds, it behoves the Kenya Tourist Board and sister organisations like the Kenya Wildlife Service to identify new attractions and bring them to the attention of policy makers.

Tourism has proved resilient, recovering from the lows of 2008 when the sector earned Sh52 billion, down from a record Sh65 billion in 2007.

Last year, it bounced back with an impressive Sh62.5 billion, representing a 19.5 per cent growth.

This is why attention must shift to World wonder Maasai Mara where the road leading to the famous Sekenani Gate needs fixing urgently.

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