Economy

300 percent rise in park charges set to take effect from January

game drive

Tourism and Wildlife Secretary Najib Balala (centre), Wildlife Principal Secretary Prof Fred Segor (left) and Kenya Wildlife Service Director-General Brig. (Rtd.) John Waweru at the Nairobi National Park during a media briefing to announce the park's 75 years anniversary celebrations on November 25, 2021. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • The new prices will run on a seasonal basis, with the new rates being applied during the high season from November to March and discounted rates for the low season between April to June.
  • KWS in April 2020 announced new rates rising up to 300 percent to take effect on July 1, 2020, but suspended amid public uproar citing coronavirus.

Kenya Wildlife Service will in January revert to the 300 percent hiked park charges that had been suspended last year following a public uproar, as it moves to generate additional income to run national parks.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the park charges that had been gazetted last year that were to take effect on July 1 and later suspended will start applying from January 1, 2022.

But the new prices will run on a seasonal basis, with the new rates being applied during the high season from November to March and discounted rates for the low season between April to June.

KWS in April 2020 announced new rates rising up to 300 percent to take effect on July 1, 2020, but suspended amid public uproar citing coronavirus.

‘’Our effected new park entry fees are going to be effective from January 1, 2022. We had given a 50 percent discount in July 2020 for international visitors and locals and that has now been reviewed and is going to be upward,” Mr Balala said. He was speaking ahead of the commemoration of Nairobi parks at 75.

“The parks need resources to run because it is not easy, so we need to revert back to the new prices.”

This means entry fees to Nairobi Park will be Sh1,500 during peak seasons representing a 300 percent jump from Sh500 before the review, while charges to Nakuru and Amboseli parks will Sh1,500 up from Sh1,000 before the review.

The CS also revealed that KWS will fully shift to online ticketing and digital payment across all parks by July 2022, aimed at reducing pilferage and delays at the gates.

The majority of parks under KWS are already accepting mobile payments.

“We are making all entries electronic. Nairobi National Park started piloting for revenue management system to allow payment through mobile money services like M-Pesa or credit card and bookings to made online,” he added.

“When a visitor comes here they don’t have to waste time spending 10 minutes or one hour to go through the gate. The shift will start here in Nairobi then Amboseli and Nakuru National Park. By July 1, 2022, all parks will be digital to reduce the delays.”

Kenya depended on international travellers for tourism revenues, but this was cut short with the hit of pandemic, which led to reliance on domestic tourists to stay afloat.

The industry anticipates recovery of travel industry next year and resumption of flight increasing number of tourists in the country.

The industry has recorded 600,000 visitors between in the 10 months to October, Mr Balala Said, and expects to hit a million people by December with the reopening of global economies and vaccination, adding that they are already recording full bookings in December.

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