Going green

Why the Kenyan tourism sector has to shift to sustainable tourism

Kenya is a leading global champion for climate change. With one of the strictest bans on polythene bags on the planet, the country’s efforts toward global climate goals are outstanding and commendable. However, Kenya’s efforts toward climate change face many financial constraints like any other developing country.

In 2021, the Tsavo National park recorded that 78 elephants died due to drought. This total is the highest ever recorded in Kenyan history. Kenya’s economy relies on tourism and agriculture. These two sectors of the economy are prone to climate change. As a result, the government must take the required steps to manage the effects of climate change.

In recent months, the Kenyan tourism sector has declared its ambition to be fossil fuel-free by 2030. The tourism sector hopes to achieve its objective by doing the following; 

  • The ministry will introduce electric cars in parks and game reserves. This move is a measure to cut down carbon emissions.
  • The entire tourism sector will switch to clean energy to cut its carbon footprint.

The switch to electric safari cars will be costly for the taxpayer. The global average for an electric vehicle is Sh3.6 million, a steep price. Is the price justified? Let us find out.

According to worldometers, Kenya has carbon footprint has steadily risen for over a decade. From 10 million metric tonnes in 2004 to 16.3 million metric tonnes in 2016, this is a shocking upward trend. This 12-year period has seen Kenya experience some of the most severe droughts. From 2008 to 2009, Kenya faced a severe drought. The period was difficult for the country, with millions facing hunger. The wildlife sector recorded many animals were dying from starvation caused by the lack of rain. A few billion Kenyan shillings look like a bargain when you pull back the curtain. 

In 2030, the government will require private tourist establishments to use alternatives to fossil fuels in their businesses. This move will cut carbon emissions in the whole industry and ease the taxpayers’ burden. There are some leading frontiers on this front. Emboo camp tours recently unveiled its fleet of fully solar-powered safari vehicles. These cars do not emit carbon, and as a bonus, tourists can now visit the parks without making noise for the animals. Emboo River’s green mission includes natural lagoons that filter and recycle 100 percent wastewater. Delectable farm to fork meals made with produce from their organic vegetable garden and an eco-friendly kitchen powered by biogas generated from the lodge’s organic waste. When it came to implementing their sustainable vision, many said it was impossible, too expensive, and that such a shift would be on the higher side. William Partois Ole Santian, Managing Director of Emboo River, believes that if one sets their mind to it, sustainable tourism is achievable.

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