Tourism is one of the most powerful ways for local communities to see tangible benefits from wildlife and habitat conservation. Not only do lodges, camps and adventure operators provide jobs to local people, but the revenue to conservancies from bed night and entry fees support core operations (such as ranger salaries and vehicle maintenance) and social projects for the entire community (such as education and health).
Tourism revenue in NRT conservancies in 2018 was the highest on record, with Ksh. 86 million (US$ 860,000) paid to conservancies in conservation and bednight fees. This is an increase of 31% from 2017.
Conservancies provide the right framework for investors to ensure they are working with, and have the support of, local communities. NRT supports conservancies to broker these agreements with tour operators, ensuring the needs and concerns of communities are met and that investments are sustainable and responsible.
There are currently five lodges operators in six NRT member conservancies.
Sarara. Namunyak Conservancy
Saruni Samburu. Kalama Community Conservancy
Il Ngwesi Lodge. Il Ngwesi Community Conservancy
Saruni Rhino. Sera Community Conservancy
Tassia Lodge. Lekurruki Community Conservancy
Sasaab. Westgate Community Conservancy
As well as partnerships with lodges, conservancies receive tourism income from their own initiatives. Ngare Ndare Forest for example runs a very successful tourism outfit, offering guided hikes, a canopy walk and a campsite for visitors. In 2017, Songa Conservancy received significant income from the annual 4x4 car rally 'Rhino Charge'.
NRT Trading has built a website to promote travel to north Kenya, and is campaigning to brand the region 'The Big North'. The website aims to make it more accessible for independent adventurers and safari-seekers.