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Sustainable Tourism Top Agenda as Kenya Gears up to Host Inaugural Climate Summit

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Nairobi, Monday 28th August 2023: Kenya's commitment to sustainable tourism and green growth initiatives will come to focus as the country prepares to host the inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) and Africa Climate Week (ACW) from 4th to 6th September 2023 and 4th to 8th September 2023. Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage CS Peninah Malonza while welcoming the forum says the event will allow Kenya to showcase its sustainable tourism and travel action as well as highlight the positive role that the sector can play in addressing climate change. “As a country that is committed to sustainable tourism, Kenya is honored to host the Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week. This is a great opportunity for us to showcase our beautiful country as a sustainable destination, demonstrate our commitment to protecting the environment, share knowledge on sustainable tourism practices being undertaken, and forge partnerships for future action,” Malonza said. She further stated that Kenya’s tourism policy has prioritized sustainability by focusing on policies that emphasize environmental conservation, community participation in tourism development, social inclusion, capacity building and cultural preservation. She added that the move by Kenya to host the summit will propel the global climate discourse forward. "The correlation between climate change and tourism is undeniable. Our efforts to safeguard our environment are inextricably linked with ensuring the long-term viability of our tourism sector. By aligning these agendas, we are not only safeguarding our natural treasures but also enhancing the quality of tourism experiences for generations to come." Kenya made pronouncements at the 2021 Cop26 that confirmed climate change and green projects as anchors to conservation, key pillars of Kenya’s tourism. Some of the declarations include retractation on the use of vehicular transportation within all National Parks and Reserves to those that use non-fossil renewable energy by 2030 and a requirement for all hospitality and tourism facilities in Kenya to adopt renewable energy and circular economy in their operations by 2030 among others. The forum, which is hosted by the Kenyan government in conjunction with the African Union will bring together Heads of States, thought leaders, policymakers, industry experts, and stakeholders from around the world. More than 20 African heads of state and governments and 13,000 delegates from across the world, including U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres are expected to take part. On his part, Kenya Tourism Board Ag. CEO John Chirchir noted that the event being the biggest to be held in Kenya post the pandemic presents an opportunity to profile the country as-the go-to destination for MICE. “MICE has been one of the most disrupted segments in tourism, the Africa Climate Summit gives us a great platform to kickstart this segment as we work towards hosting more big events in the destination. The government is currently working on expanding and developing our facilities to ensure that we are a top meetings destination”. The CEO said. He added that the event will be a big boost to the sector with over 60 hotels and establishments within Nairobi and the outskirts expected to gain from the attending guests “Every year, tourists from all over the world are drawn to Kenya's natural beauty and unique ecosystems, with a growing awareness on sustainability at the core of their travel choices. The forthcoming summit will boost tourism businesses as well as serve as a powerful platform, showcasing Kenya's strides in sustainable tourism practices and highlighting our efforts in nurturing a destination that embraces both environmental preservation and unforgettable travel experiences.” The inaugural Nairobi Africa Climate Summit aims to give Africa’s voice and position during the upcoming global COP28. This is in recognition of the increasing impacts of climate change on development with sustainable tourism identified as a high impact sector with global relevance. Kenya has made significant strides towards sustainability by implementing various initiatives that have seen it become a global leader in sustainable tourism practices. A key milestone in this journey was the plastic ban implemented in 2017 to reduce plastic pollution and protect the environment.

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