Nyeri is betting on online platforms to increase the number of tourists visiting the county as hoteliers urge the government to market Mt Kenya region as a tourism destination.
The county has already completed mapping tourism and heritage sites, published books and released a documentary that it will use to advertise the attractions with the help of the National Museums of Kenya.
According to Tourism Executive Diana Kendi, the films will be available on YouTube with a link to the county’s website and they will use search engine optimisation to target customer groups.
“The new marketing strategy will have a wider reach of tourists visiting sites that are featured in our books and documentary,” she said.
Key tourist attractions include the Aberdare National Park and Mt Kenya ecosystem, Italian war memorial church that housed over 600 prisoners of war, Mau Mau shrines and Paxtu, where the founder of the scouting movement lived and died, among others.
“After developing the documentary and releasing a portfolio book we are shifting our focus to having an online marketing strategy that will be available on [our] website www.nyeri.go.ke,” she said.
This comes at a time when tourism stakeholders and hoteliers in Mt Kenya have asked the national government to aggressively market the region to shore up the number of visitors.
According to the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Mt Kenya Regional Chairman Edward Wangeci, the region is a favourable destination for adventure, sports, game viewing as well as romantic expeditions.
“For years, the tourism board has focused on the beaches and safari but we have the second tallest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro which is more scenic,” he said in an interview.
Some of the projects that can boost tourism in the region include biking trails, the Chaka Ranch, Mt Kenya treks, Sagana waterfalls for rafting, social activities such as the Rhino charge, safari rallies and the annual Lewa Marathon which contributes to the region’s tourism revenues.
“Agri-tourism is also a big opportunity especially in the tea and coffee sectors, being among the top exchange earners in the country,” he added.
The county has also set aside Sh15 million for the development of the sites including those that were recently gazetted.
“We want to scale up the infrastructure and facilitate the tourists who will be visiting, say Mt Kenya, by developing climbing routes,” said Ms Kendi.
She further stated that the county is developing a cultural centre to be situated in Nyeri town meant to nurture youth talent.
“We have already developed a statue for freedom fighter Dedan Kimathi at Kahiga-ini where he was shot and captured and a monument for Wangari Maathai will be set up within the town,” she added.