The national government is expected to partner with the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) counties to revive the stalled cable cars project whose planned construction has ran into headwinds due to lack of funds.
This was revealed by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala who, while speaking on Saturday at Iten in Elgeyo-Marakwet County, said that the Kenya Tourism Board in 2018 had advertised a tender for a feasibility study but the project was later shelved due to lack of funds.
He said ministry officials are set to meet with Noreb governors in the next two weeks to discuss tourism in the region: “My team led by the principal secretaries will in the next two weeks meet with Noreb governors to develop a framework for promoting tourism in this region and cable cars will be one of the major projects that will be discussed,” he added.
County officials had expressed confidence that the construction of the first cable car project in East Africa along the escarpments of Elgeyo Marakwet and Baringo would attract thousands of tourists.
Mr Balala said the government was committed to boosting sports tourism in the region, with athletics being used to market other tourism attractions.
On his part, Governor Alex Tolgos urged Mr Balala help the county realise the cable cars dream. He wondered why Sh80 million, which the Kenya Tourism Board had set aside to carry out the feasibility study to unlock the Sh1 billion project, has not been used.
“We are looking for private investors to come on board. The county will create an enabling environment for them. Imagine boarding a cable car from Iten to Rimoi National Reserve.,”Mr Tolgos said.
The feasibility study is expected to undertake financial and financial analysis of the proposed project sites including demand analysis and how much it will cost.
“Countries like South Africa are reaping big from such ventures and we want to take the same route and become the first county to have cable cars in Kenya,” said Mr Tolgos.
Other countries with cable cars are Brazil with her scenic Sugarloaf Mountain and Switzerland’s legendary Grindelwald-Männlichen cableways.
Mr Tolgos lamented that renovations at the iconic Kamariny Stadium in Iten had stalled due to laziness of the contractor.
Refurbishment of the stadium opened by Queen Elizabeth in the 1980s would be a major boost for athletics and local tourism.
“Athletics is a tourist attraction and Iten, being the destination for the world’s top runners, is likely to attract athletes and other people who may want to come watch them train,” Mr Tolgos said.