Tourism is one of the most important social-economic sectors in Kenya. The sector contributes about 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs about 9 percent of the total wage workforce in the country. The sector has high multiplier effects as its growth stimulates further development in other sectors of the economy. The Kenya Vision 2030 recognizes the importance of the sector and envisages Kenya to be among the leading long haul tourist destinations in the world, offering a high – end diverse and distinctive visitor experience.
Over the years, tourism has become an extremely competitive business. This necessitates a paradigm shift in the development and management of the sector. The focus must shift from the traditional tourism products to sustainable tourism. It is therefore imperative that tourism is developed and managed in a controlled, integrated and sustainable manner.
To ensure that tourism follows a sustainable path, the Department of Tourism is mandated with provision of clear direction and leadership in the tourism policy and development in the country by Executive Order No.2 of 2013. In this regard, the Department plays the role of overseeing and coordinating all inclusive processes of policy direction, planning, product development and diversification.
This calls for a considerable degree of coordination and cooperation between the different levels of governments to ensure harmonized and sustainable development of tourism in line with the constitutional provisions of Articles 189 and 191.