The Maasai Mara National Reserve is reporting positive news as far as the number of incoming tourists is concerned.
Hotels at the world famous reserve are reporting that they are fully booked ahead of the expected Wildebeest migration scheduled to take place in the next few weeks.
“The Great Migration of Wildebeests from Serengeti Park, Tanzania, via the Mara River into Maasai Mara is expected by the end of this month. Many international tourists are streaming in to come witness this event,” said Fairmont Mara Safari Club Manager Munene Ngotho.
According to the manager, spouses of Global Entrepreneurship Summit scheduled to take place this weekend are also part of the tourists making the bookings.
Other camps also reported an increase in the number of tourists, such as Kichwa Tembo which is located in the reserve.
According to its management, the Global Entrepreneurship Summit has not played a part as most of its tourists are coming for the great wildebeest migration. However, they are expecting spill over upon the conclusion of the summit.
This is good news for the country especially for the reserve and its surrounding communities.
Maasai merchants at the Mara for instance reported that business is now booming following months of little to no business.
According to Naisenya Tanei, a trader at Musiara Gate near the Mara National Reserve, business is now looking up.
“Tourists have now come back to the Reserve and we are happy about it since business has been poor especially during the last one and a half years. We hope it stays this way,” she explained.
Tanei also added that she is happy because of the high number of local tourists who have been buying from her.
“In the last few months, we have seen more Kenyans coming into the reserve. They have also been promoting our businesses which mean a lot to our businesses. We therefore welcome everyone in the country and beyond to Maasai Mara.”
Insecurity instances in the country pushed some countries to issue travel advisories to its citizens warning them against travelling to Kenya. However, the lifting of travel advisories by Britain, for instance, has instilled confidence to tourists even if in a small extent. Additionally, the historical visit by US President Barack Obama for the upcoming Global Entrepreneurship Summit has also played part in redeeming Kenya as an ideal tour destination.
Visiting tourists are urging their countrymen to come and enjoy Kenya’s hospitality.
Manav Bhalla, an Australian tourist who lives in Dubai stated that he had heard about travel advisories issued against Kenya, but still chose to travel to Maasai Mara.
“I live in Middle East which has more insecurity problems than Kenya does. Of course I did my research and I still chose to come because what I read about its wildlife said beautiful things. Kenya is truly a great country and I encourage everyone to listen beyond the sensational stories and come experience Kenya,” he stated.
He is not alone.
Tonnes of tourists also expressed their faith in the security offered at Maasai Mara, sentiments that are echoed by Kichwa Tembo’s management.
“You have to realise that it is not the whole country that is insecure. The Mara is safe, so is Kenya. Come and see the beautiful people, the great wildlife and the magical scenery,” Kichwa Tembo Assistant Manager Stanley Mpakani said.
Workers at hotels in Maasai Mara are also excited about the summit saying that it will give them the publicity that they deserve.
“The summit will give the world a chance to see Kenya beyond the negative stories written by the international media. It will give us a chance to showcase Kenya’s finesse,” Martin Mugo, a driver and guide at Fairmont Mara Safi Club said.
He explained that not only were the upcoming Summit and the Great Migration playing part in the promotion of The Mara, but local tourists too were playing part in it.
“We experienced very difficult months as business was really low. But local tourists from around Kenya kept us going. I therefore encourage them to come and enjoy their country,” he concluded.