In Summary
  • Recently, I visited the Empire State Building in New York City and realised that Kenya has all but lost any hope of creating an impression if not viable portfolio in build heritage.
  • Generally, cultural heritage tourism tends to attract high-yield tourists who not only spend more, but in general tend to stay longer compared to other kinds of travellers, according to global tourism statics.
  • It is amazing that in spite of all sorts of calls to make Nairobi a twenty-four-hour economy, many supposedly astute business people only think as far as bars, restaurants and discotheques.
  • The boom in real estate also provides opportunities for those willing to venture into cultural tourism.

Kenya has many tourist attractions but mainly relies heavily on three: natural heritage, the big five and our sandy beaches.

The country has not been able to properly utilise or optimise cultural heritage, despite the existence of a rich panorama of cultures and traditions.

Every time there are initiatives in this direction, such as was initially proposed in Vision 2030, with creative suggestions like diversification of tourism products into these area, there is always a flop, either due to clueless national institutions or competition from what is considered to be more pressing issues.

BEST PRACTICE

Recently, I visited the Empire State Building in New York City and realised that Kenya has all but lost any hope of creating an impression if not viable portfolio in build heritage.

The Empire state building held the prestigious position of being the tallest building in the world for almost 40 years between 1931 and 1977. In 1986, it was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States government, joining a list of other landmarks recognised for their historical significance to the United States.

The Burj Khalifa, in the United Arab Emirates, has been designated the tallest building in the World since 2010 by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an international body specialising in tall buildings and sustainable urban designs.

The Empire state building gives a visitor a panoramic, breath-taking view of many New York landmarks from over a thousand feet above ground. And for that privilege one has to pay $38 for a ticket bought online in advance, and whose shelf life is one month. This ticket takes a visitor to the 86th floor, which has a small museum with an exhibition on the building.

One cannot help but be in awe of the minds behind such commercially and economically viable thoughts with which they created a cultural heritage icon with a booming visitor economy that interests not just international visitors but New Yorkers as well.

Generally, cultural heritage tourism tends to attract high-yield tourists who not only spend more, but in general tend to stay longer compared to other kinds of travellers, according to global tourism statics.

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