Monday, July 19, 2010

KWS bids out soon for park lodges

 Part of a lodge in Tsavo West National Park. The Kenya Wildlife Service will shortly ask investors to put up 13 more lodges in the area. FILE |  Nation

Part of a lodge in Tsavo West National Park. The Kenya Wildlife Service will shortly ask investors to put up 13 more lodges in the area. FILE | Nation 

By BENJAMIN MUINDI

The Kenya Wildlife Service has opened a window of investment for people to build 13 lodges in the Tsavo conservation area — the largest protected wilderness in Kenya.

Sites for the construction of the lodges will be unveiled in a week at Tsavo East, Tsavo West and Chyullu Hills national parks.

This comes at a time when Kenya is racing to diversify its tourism away from Maasai Mara, Tsavo East, and Amboseli.

According to the head of Tsavo West, Mr Daniel Woodley, KWS seeks to raise more revenue from tourists visiting the parks besides conserving the environment.

“This is why we are calling them eco-lodges that shall be set up in exclusive areas of the parks to reduce impact on the environment.”

The Tsavo area is the tourism mainstay of KWS’ protected areas, and accounts for more than 20 per cent of average annual game park visits.

To support these investments, KWS will enhance the parks’ management and administration systems.

According to the details available on the KWS website, roads, bridges and security were being improved. In this first phase of development, it expects to realise an additional 422 beds through private investment. Each of the lodges will have 10 to 13 beds.

“We cannot project the amount of income to be raised at the end of it all because the nature of the industry is volatile,” Mr Woodley told the Nation by telephone.

“But the idea is to move the tourists to the less congested areas, and that the activities shall not impact negatively on the environment.”

It is expected that these developments will create a diversified tourist product that will be easily integrated to complement and enrich the already popular Tsavo tourist circuit.

The KWS said that the investment opportunities would be available to experienced local and international developers.

KWS will seek “expressions of interest” for the proposed developments through advertisements in the media.

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