Nomadic Tourism in Northern Kenya

September 14/18
On Friday, September 14th, students enrolled in the Sustainability Tourism and Hospitality Management program travelled to Chuka University to attend a seminar about the possibilities of developing nomadic tourism in northern Kenya. The seminar was organized by the Sustainable Travel and Tourism Agenda as part of the Youth Changemakers program. The main aim of the program is “to create young sustainability ambassadors, empowered with sustainability knowledge and skills, and who can be relied on for innovative ideas and solutions to the challenges we face today in the tourism and conservation sector”.

A team of panelists presented some of the factors that are reinventing cultural tourism, such as group travel, accessibility, air travel, competition between operators, FOMO (fear of missing out), special events among others. Another topic discussed were some of the issues that are currently inhibiting the growth or development of nomadic tourism in northern Kenya, such as access to research and professional publications, transportation issues (including accessibility and distance), tribal conflict, security risk and negative media about the instability of the region which inhibits ability to attract international travellers.

Students were attentive and asked well thought-out questions to the panel after each topic, some of which were:

  1. Will nomadic tourism cease to exist in the future?
  2. Does the introduction of new ideals into these nomadic cultures forever alter their traditional way of life?
  3. As internet is introduced into these regions, will nomadic peoples be more inclined to settle?
  4. How do you turn nomadic tourism into a profit making business?
  5. How can travellers who are practice Christianityparticipate in nomadic tourism, when these tribes have cultural traditions and practices that are not in agreement with Christian ideals?
  6. How can we ensure profit sharing among the various nomadic tribes?

Panelists answered these questions to the best of their ability, although it is clear that the topic of nomadic tourism is complex and solutions not always clear. One overlying theme was apparent throughout the seminar – that more research is needed to help address these issues and increase the knowledge of nomadic tourism. It was proposed to students and university staff to look at this as an opportunity for growth, and those who are interested in researching the topic should collaborate and focus on tourism in their specific geographical region.
These inter-university seminars are held monthly, and discuss important themes in sustainable tourism and conservation. Dedan Kimathi University of Technology will be hosting one of these seminars in November, which is free to attend for all who are interested in learned more about ideas and challenges in the tourism sector. The seminar is scheduled for November 24th, and will discuss the topic: What is Sustainable inclusive growth in tourism and conservation?

Article by:

Shaylyn Robertson
Eco-Tourism Business Officer – June 2018 – December 2018
Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Management
Dedan Kimathi University of Technology