Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) recently handed over the sites for the lodges in Meru and Kora National Parks to Monarch Group of Investors.
The lodges are part of the Meru Management Plan drawn out in 2008 by KWS in collaboration with Mwingi and Isiolo County Councils for the development of Meru Conservation Area (MCA).
The development package includes increasing accommodation facilities as well as improving the area’s tourism infrastructure in line with Kenya’s Vision 2030 development plan.
During the ground breaking ceremony at Meru National Park, KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich urged communities living next to conservation areas to welcome investors by maintaining a conducive environment for the private sector.
This, he added, would go a long way in solving the unemployment problem currently facing the country’s population.
The lodges are set to provide various job opportunities for the locals in the area. They will also be able to sell their fresh produce and handicrafts to tourists. The Director also welcomed plans for the setting up a cultural centre in the area.
The Director said projections show a 1.9 million tourists visiting Kenya this year, compared to 1.4 million last year. This indicates an increase of over half a million tourists who would require more investment.
The chairman of Monarch Group of Investors, Hon. Jared Kangwana, said he hoped the lodges to be completed in six months time. He promised to set up a mobile-tented camp to operate along Meru and Kora National Parks as the lodges’ construction goes on.
The proposed Golo tented site lodge would have a 30-bed capacity comprising of 15 tents covering 25-acres fully equipped with all the modern facilities, including a swimming pool and spa.
KWS Business Development Manager, Salome Gachago, said the lodges would help in diversifying the tourism product of Meru National Park. This would help ensure the park in the future become part of Kenya’s premium parks hosting a number of activities such as bush dinners, filming, cultural events and water sports along the Tana River.
The development of high-end visitor facilities is part of the strategic positioning of Kenya’s tourism sector to tap into the World Tourism Organisation projected 1.6 billion international tourist arrivals by 2020.
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