New Isiolo airport to boost tourism
Posted Tuesday, May 22 2012 at 21:11
The northern tourist circuit will reap huge returns after the Isiolo International Airport is officially opened as direct flights will make the region more accessible.
The circuit, covering national parks in Mt Kenya, Isiolo and Samburu counties, has been grappling with poor infrastructure and insecurity.
Transport PS Cyrus Njiru said after touring the facility yesterday he was impressed with the speed and quality of work done.
“Strict tests were done on construction materials at the government laboratory in Nyeri at every stage,” Dr Njiru said.
The opening of the first phase of the 136 km stretch of the Isiolo-Moyale highway has also boosted the sector.
Isiolo County Council chief warden Abdi Boru said the two developments would result in increased revenues for Isiolo and Samburu councils.
Kenya Airports Authority official James Waweru said the airport would also serve the neighbouring counties of Meru, Laikipia, Samburu and central Kenya.
The manager of Samburu national reserve, Mr Steve Sikume, said insecurity had been a major impediment to tourism but the airport would make the area safer to visit.
Small planes carrying between six and 12 passengers have been using a small airstrips at Buffalo Springs national reserve in Isiolo and another at Kalama conservancy.
Elephant Lodge official Joseph Gitonga said the six-hour road trip from Nairobi discouraged tourists from visiting Isiolo and Samburu.
“It will take less than an hour for tourists to reach the lodges when planes start landing at Isiolo airport,” he said. It is not only the tourism sector which will benefit.
Humanitarian organisations like the Kenya Red Cross have been flying humanitarian aid supplies since the facility became usable in March.