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Mt Kenya hotels, tour firms reap big from visitor growth

 Chris Obure (second left), European Union First Counsellor Walter Tretton and Buuri MP Rindikiri Mugambi
Transport Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure (second left), European Union First Counsellor Walter Tretton and Buuri MP Rindikiri Mugambi during the inauguration of Mount Kenya National Park roads at Sirimon Gate, January 21, 2018. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI 

Mount Kenya is regaining its lost glory as a tourist destination after recording an increase of more than 38 per cent in climbers last year on the back of better road infrastructure and improved marketing.

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) records show that more than 26,000 tourists climbed the country’s highest mountain last year, up from the 15,000 in 2017.

The revenue generated from tourists rose by close to 30 per cent with tour companies, hotels and other service industry players earning Sh106 million last year, up from Sh75million in 2017.

KWS senior warden Isaac Mugo said the improvement was due to increased marketing and remodelling of the mountain tour package.

“For years Mt Kenya suffered a dip in the number of tourists who visit annually but gradually the numbers are going up. We are optimistic with the new roads and continued efforts from the government the rising trend will persist,” Mr Mugo said.

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Roads and Infrastructure Chief Administrative Secretary Chris Obure and European Union (EU) First Counsellor Walter Tretton Monday inaugurated a 27-kilometre road at Sirimon Gate on Mt Kenya.

The Naromoru Gate-Met Station Road and the Kalalu Farm- Sirimon Gate-Old Moses Camp Road have been tarmacked as part of a project to upgrade road access in three national parks.

“The project is meant to upgrade access into parks to give tourists an easy time when they visit. The roads will also play a big part in improving security in the parks and boost emergency response,” said Mr Obure.

The EU partly funded the national parks project, which cost Sh2.3 billion.

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