As the 60th edition of the National Schools Drama and Film Festival comes to an end today, the department of Tourism in Bungoma County will be left with a rotten egg on the face after sleeping on job while the County was hosting such a prestigious bonanza.
The festival, which kicked off last Wednesday 3rd April, 2019 and attracting more than 22,000 participants during the ten-day fête which was being held in Bungoma County for the first time since being established six decades ago.
Many Small and Mediam Entrepreneurs that have talked to this website have expressed their joy after a week of booming business.
“My MPesa shop has given me beautiful returns as well as my bottle water shop.” Said a business lady in Kibabii who identified herself as Mariamu.
“This was one of my most blessed moments. I have never made such returns in my photography career.” Boasted an upcoming photographer Mr. Eric Wafula, 23.
However, as the Ministry in charge of Tourism, many would expect the office under County Executive Cabinet Member Mr. Remson Makheti to take advantage of the 22,000 visitors and vigorous market the beautiful tourist attractions sites found within the country’s third largest county.
Many of the visitors who came for the festival had expressed the good reception they have received from the People of Mulembe and vowed to keep visiting the county again.
Bungoma County has several historical sites and cultural diversities that the visitors could have fully exploited had the Ministry of Tourism co-operated with media and other marketing agencies in selling the images of such sites.
Our efforts to reach Mr. Makheti to share with us the photos of the tourist sites which they had already profiled in their laptops were met with cold ears as the Minister kept refused to return our messages.
But how busy could he be yet the announcement of Bungoma as the host was made two months earlier? Why couldn’t the CEMC prepare appropriate content and mechanisms before the festival?
The hashtag #KaribuBungoma which was trending on twitter on the first day of the festival vanished into thin air due to poor coordination despite efforts by local residents to push it.
During such festivals, teachers and students do visit tourist sites in buses as they take memorable photos to share on their social media pages.
Assuming that at least 10,000 out of the 22,000 visitors visited at least one tourist site in Bungoma County and shared their photos to their pages, the images would spread to over a million people across the word – if each visitor has a minimum of 100 followers.
Out of the million who could have seen such photos, at least 100,000 would be tempted to visit Bungoma by the end of this year, bringing substantive revenue to the locals.
We also reached out to the reigning Miss Tourism Bungoma and the Country’s Miss Tourism People’s Choice Joyce Munyefu about her plans in marketing the County during such an important festival but she expressed her frustrations for lack of enough support from the Tourism Office.
“I’m trying to do my best to market this county but some times I’m limited with the budget. There are times I have to use my own money which is really trying as I’m still a student.” Said Ms Munyefu.
With the festival now over, questions may linger in Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s mind if he actually has the right man in that office.
If you cannot market your tourist sites during such a big event, when will you ever market them? Does Mr. Makheti who what his office entrails? Wasted opportunity?