Tourism Board director Steve Gwendo on Saturday said counties should make licensing simpler, easier and faster, and give incentives to attract more hotel investors.
“This is the best way to open up the tourism potential of the region. The Western tourism circuit has huge potential,” he said.
He was speaking in Kisumu during the Kenya Association of Tour Operators meeting. Lake region counties are Kisumu, Siaya, Migori and Homa Bay.
Gwendo termed the Sh3 billion rehabilitation of the Kisumu port a great achievement for the region.
It will create an opportunity for cruise tourism, which will allow investors to bring in ships for tourism in the lake, he said.
“With the modernization of the port, the region will attract investors on water sports tourism, nature and wildlife tourism, agro-tourism and cultural heritage tourism,” Gwendo said.
The director said the port and ongoing road expansions will boost the economy. He urged local and foreign investors to focus more on the tourism sector in counties along the lake.
Gwendo urged national and county government to support tourism around water bodies like other countries, saying limited investment has derailed the industry’s growth for years.
“If we have cruise ships doing inter-cities within the lake, Kisumu city and the neighboring counties will immensely benefit from revenue from the increased number of tourists,” he said.
The counties, Gwendo said, should now focus on having cruise ships that will operate from Kisumu, Entebbe, Mwanza, Bukoba and Rusinga Island.
He said with such cruise ships, many investors will have opportunities to pump in money in the sector.
Gwendo announced that Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria will soon be opened as a high-end tourist resort.