About Community Tourism in Kenya

Community Based Tourism (CBT) is a new facet of tourism that empowers local residents (often rural, poor and marginalized) to take charge in the decision making process in tourism development.  CBT enables these residents to work together with other stakeholders develop opportunities for employment, participation in planning, conservation and running of enterprises either collectively, or by local individuals or families. 

The concept of community based tourism is widely practiced in Southern Africa and Namibia with a lot of success stories. Here in Kenya some communities around the main game parks have established CBT activities to enable local communities participate in efforts to promote community tourism and at the same time boost their economic living standards and utilize the wildlife habitat and other attractions as a resource. Such communities have an opportunity to show their culture and make handcrafts or other artifacts that could be sold to visitors and therefore earn a living from such initiatives.

Communities in the areas bordering the game parks are being encouraged to participate in the promotion of CBT and the same time boost their economic standards. Members of group ranches are being encouraged to utilize wildlife habitat as a resource and in places like Loitoktok a group ranch has gone into partnership with an investor where land has been set aside and reserved as habitat for wildlife. Apart from generating income from leased land the communities are able to get income from social projects, such as education and infrastructure and such ventures are contributing to employment opportunities for local people and therefore improving their quality of lives. This is a process that is also transforming communities from relying on pastoralism purely to wildlife and environmental conservation. Community tourism in the said area has come as a relief for local people who now have a source of income that supplements the income from livestock keeping.  The women have great relief as their spouses and children are now working and this income alleviates the adverse impact of drought.  Other benefits of CBT on the wildlife are that the animals that were threatened by poachers are no longer facing extinction because the communities are protecting them. 

The idea of CBT approach can be replicated in other areas such as Samburu, Narok, Tsavo, Lake region and The Mt. Kenya area and this is the reason that KECOBAT was started to try and support in the tapping the potential that is already there.  

The CBT policy which is not yet finalized is currently a draw back in promoting the sector. Lack of a regulatory framework is a major limitation for communities that wish to explore such opportunities in community tourism. There is currently no supportive policy for practical actions to ensure CBT extend beyond environmental matters to include the expansion of livelihoods and natural resource management opportunities. 

Community Tourism’s objective is to provide a rich cultural experience coupled with development work to tourists in Kenya.

Community Tourism is an initiative using tourism as tool to eradicate poverty within the community. The initiative was started in 2009 as way of helping the community showcase and market their heritage and products to the tourists community in a more responsible and sustainable way. The reasons as to why it was started are lack of school fees, scarcity of food, scarcity of water, lack of access to medical facilities, market opportunity and self-employment.

Community Tourism focuses on programs that generate income to the community and also provide rich fun filled experience to tourists. The programs are designed in such a way that they provide a win-win situation between the community and the tourists.


The Kenya Community Based Tourism Network (KECOBAT) network was launched in August 2003 as a membership umbrella organization representing the interest of Community Based Tourism (CBT) organizations in Kenya.

It aims to facilitate information sharing; delivering appropriate technical support and advisory services; mediating and lobbying their interests to government and other relevant institutions and thereby integrating community concerns into national tourism.

Contact Us

Mutall Business Centre , Kiserian

P.O BOX 42745 - 00100,

Nairobi, Kenya   

Tel: +254 (0) 20 231 9458

Cell: +254 726 489 446,

      +254 720 546 457

Email: info@kecobat.org

Website: www.kecobat.org