The soon-to-be opened Isiolo Airport is expected to unfurl Mt Kenya region and help it compete with other counties as a tourism destination.
Being one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects, the airport aims at unlocking the economic potential of the region.
“The travel time will be cut by half for tourists landing at the airport,” said Mt Kenya regional chairman of Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers, Mr Edward Wangeci.
He said the region would be a favourable destination for adventure, sports tourism, game viewing and family and romantic excursions.
Mr Wangeci added that the Kenya Tourism Board would aggressively promote Mt Kenya region to attract international tourists.
“For years, the tourism board has focused on beach and safari hubs. Here, we have the second tallest mountain in Africa after Kilimanjaro, and it is very scenic. With KTB focusing on the Mt Kenya region, the airport could not have come at a better time,” he told the Sunday Nation.
Several products are also being lined up to make the region.
Biking trails, Chaka Ranch, Mt Kenya treks, Sagana River rafting, social activities such as the Rhino Charge, safari rallies and the annual Lewa Marathon contribute to the region’s tourism revenues.
“Agri-tourism is also a big attraction, with tea and coffee sectors being among Kenya’s top exchange earners,” said Mr Wangeci.
The chairman says local tourists should shift focus to Mt Kenya region and other up-country destinations.
The region was a unique tourism destination with a rich history, right from colonial times.
But its attractions have not been fully exploited by local and international tourists.
Mr Wangeci said the skirmishes experienced in Laikipia County this year had adversely affected tourism.
Other tourist attractions in Mt Kenya region include Mt Kenya National Park, Meru National Park, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, Mwea National Reserve, Rhino Sanctuary, Meru National Museum, Thika and Chania Falls, Laikipia Plateau, Fourteen Falls, Chania Falls, Kereita Forest, Kenya Fly Fishers Club, Kamburu Dam, Nyahururu Thompsons Fall, Sagana Rapids Camp, Ngare Ndare Forest Fall, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy.