MINISTRY OF TOURISM & WILDLIFE
OFFICE OF PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS
T h u r s d ay:: 4 th April , 201 9
Cabinet Secretary Hon.. Najib Balala awarded 2019 WTTC Global Champion Award for Social Impact
The Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife is delighted to announce that
Hon.. Najib Balala,, EGH,, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife in the Government of Kenya , has been awarded the Wor ld Travel & Tourism Council (WWTTC)) Global Champion Award at the 2019 Global Summit in Seville,, Spain,, for his country’s work on Social Impact..
The annual WTTC Global Champion Awards recognise public officials or countries who,, through their leadership,, ha ve made a difference through unique public policies and initiatives that have increased the competitiveness of the sector within their countries..
The WTTC Global Champion Award for Social Impact recognises leadership in enabling gender equality and diver sity;; engaging local communities and making the sector more attractive for future generations..
CS Balala was in 2017 re – appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife by H..EE.. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta,, CGH,, President of the Republic of Kenya and Comma nder – In – Chief of the Defence Forces .
This was the third time he was being entrusted with the tourism docket,, due to his vast knowledge and experience in this field;; plus,, added responsibility of taking care of Kenya’s national heritage of wildlife..
CS Balala is currently the longest – serving Minister in the Kenyan Cabinet,, with thirteen (113)) of experience as a Minister serving in different portfolios – eight (88)) of which in the Tourism sector .
Hon.. Najib and his Ministerial team are credited with steer ing Ken ya’s tourism sector to recovery . He has played a significant role in boosting growth and stability in the Kenyan and regional tourism sector,, working closely with private and institutional investors,, with conservation and regional development agenci es to ensure that the economic potential of this vital sector was both prudently and sustainably – managed..
This was best exemplified by the recording – setting tourism performance in 2018 of over 2 million international arrivals,, which was endorsed by Presi dent & CEO of WTTC,, Ms.. Gloria Guevara in Nairobi,, where she symbolically released the WTTC Economic Impact Research 2019 for Africa recently..
In 2018,, Travel & Tourism grew 5.6%% to contribute KSHS 790 billion and 1.1 million jobs to the Kenyan economy.. This rate of growth is faster than the global average of 3.9%% and the Sub – Saharan Africa average of 3.3%%.. This makes Kenya the third largest tourism economy in Sub – Saharan Africa after South Africa and Nigeria , both of which grew substantially less than K enya in 2018..
In total,, international tourists spent over KSHS 157 billion in Kenya last year,, accounting for over 15%% of total exports.. The largest inbound international markets were the USA (111%%));; UK (99%%));; India (66%%));; China (44%%));; and Germany (44%%)).. Combi ned with domestic spending,, Travel & Tourism supported 8.8%% of the nation’s GDP in 2018..
CS Balala is focused on improving and modernizing Kenya’s wildlife conservation sector,, under the banner KENYANS FOR WILDFLIFE & WILDLIFE FOR KENYANS , since it has a direct impact on the tourism sector –
of which 70%% is wildlife
based.. Thus,, wildlife is key to the
success of our tourism sector..
Importantly,, most of Kenya’s wildlife is found outside its protected areas and it is imperative to empower the local communities,, who – cohabit with this national heritage,, to be better custodians and stewards of wildlife conservation through community – driven conservancies..
Significantly,, communities are placed as the key to the
strategy and programme in Kenya’s new
National Wildlife Strategy
(NNWS)) 2030,, which aims to enhance the capacities of local
communities for mutual benefit of both the communities and
protected area managers..
Youth is also another key component where key activities include engaging youth in wi ldlife conservation and environmental stewardship.. The Kenyan’s government has also launched the MABINGWA ( Youth)) P rogram for various age classes to inspire and equip the next generation of conservation leaders.. This will ensure the future and sustainable of our tourism and wildlife conservation..
The Kenyan government,, through a partnership with Eco – Tourism Kenya,, The Leadership and Mentorship program (LLMP)),, has aimed at educating students about the origins,, meaning and practices of ecotourism in comparison with other conventional forms of tourism;; as well as provid ing job training opportunities (tthrough internship and attachments)) for tourism students from Kenyan universities and colleges..
Additionally,, there is also the Enterpris e Development Program,, which help s to integrate communities and community – based tourism into mainstream tourism in Kenya,, and to build capacity for local people to more effectively engage with tourism issues..
Furthermore,, Hon.. Balala ’ss Ministry of Tourism & Wildlife,, through its State Corporation Kenya Wildlife Service (KKWS)),, is positively implementing the affirmative action of increasing the numbers of female Wildlife Rangers,, in line with Kenyan government’s gender mainstreaming policy..
These are just a few of the compelling examples of CS Balala’s leadership in the Kenyan tourism and wildlife sectors that made him a clear candidate for the conferment of this global award by WTTC..
Upon receiving the award,, Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said,, “TTh is award is not only a win for the Ministry , tourism and wildlife sector s , but is also an endorsement of Magical Kenya’s efforts to make tourism , wildlife sustainable and ensure that both directly benefits our local communities,, who are the custodians and stewards of both our tourism and wildlife resources..””
Gloria Guevara,, President & CEO,, WTTC commented,, “TTravel & Tourism is a sector which is proven to drive economic growth,, create jobs and boost social inclusion.. I am delighted to recognise the work of Cabinet Secretary for Tourism & Wildlife from the Government of Kenya , Hon.. Najib Balala,, in promoting community – based tourism as a way of allowing local people to more effectively engage with tourism issues;; and promoting youth activities in wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship..””
The award was presented at the Gala Dinner of the WTTC Global Summit in Seville,, Spain,, held la st night , Wednesday 3 rd April , 2019..
We heartily congratulate CS Najib Balala for this international recognition and wish him th e best in his future endeavours to move the country’s tourism and wildlife sectors to even higher levels,, locally and globally..
– ENDS –
DIRECTOR,, PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS DIVISION
0722 516 610,, 0733 516 610