The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) plans to aggressively promote Mount Kenya in overseas markets to attract more international tourists to the country.
Although Mount Kenya is the second tallest mountain in Africa, after Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, its attractions have been overshadowed by Kenya’s premier products – the beach and safari.
Over the years, Kenya’s marketing campaigns in international markets have largely focused on the alluring white sand beaches at the Kenyan Coast and the wildlife hotspots such the Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Tsavo East and West National Parks.
According to KTB, Mount Kenya has the potential to woo more international holidaymakers including mountain climbers, given that it is part of the Mount Kenya National Park.
An area of 715 square kilometres around the centre of the mountain was designated as a national park and was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1997.
The scenery surrounding this designated heritage site is breathtaking.
It has pristine wilderness with lakes, tarns, glaciers, dense forest, mineral springs and a selection of rare and endangered species of animals, high altitude adapted plains game and unique alpine vegetation.
Wildlife include elephants, tree hyrax, white tailed mongoose, Suni, black fronted duiker, bush bucks, water bucks and elands.
Rarely seen animals include leopard, bongo and giant forest hog as well as more than 30 bird species.
KTB Chairman Jimi Kariuki said the marketing agency would prioritise promoting Mount Kenya in key markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy to attract more mountain climbers.
“It is true that Mount Kenya has not been given much attention compared to beach and safari despite its natural beauty as well as the flora and fauna surrounding it,” he added.
Apart from mountain climbers, Mr Kariuki points out that the mountain can also attract wildlife enthusiasts and bird lovers.
Mt Kenya circuit
The KTB boss says when the mountain attracts more international tourists, it would help boost tourism in the Mount Kenya circuit.
Mr Kariuki adds that apart from Mount Kenya, the country has unexploited attractions such as the World War 1 battlefields in Taita Taveta, diverse cultures, lakes, rivers and forests.
For instance, Kakamega forest, he says, boasts 380 species of trees, 330 bird species, more than butterflies 400, 27 snake species and mammals.
Recently, the Kenya Tourism Board indicated that tourist numbers in Kenya might hit the 1.5 million mark by the end of this year.
Last year, Kenya received a total of 1.3 million tourists, with 877,000 arrivals from overseas markets while the rest were cross-border visitors.