Nairobi, Aug 16 (IANS) Leading Kenyan scientists have called upon their government to tap the potential of the country’s vast trove of prehistoric fossils to boost the tourism industry.
According to renowned conservationist Richard Leakey, Lake Turkana region, home to the world-famous “Turkana boy”, could become a major tourist hub in east Africa despite its remote location, reported Xinhua.
Kenya displayed the Turkana boy in the just concluded London Olympics where it drew a lot of attention. The country has one of the largest collections of fossils in the world.
Turkana boy is the common name of fossil KNM-WT 15000, a nearly complete skeleton of a hominid who died in the early Pleistocene era. Found in 1984, it is the most complete skeleton of human ancestors so far discovered.
“The fossils discovered have gained enormous attention globally and could play a huge role in increasing tourism into Kenya,” Leakey said.
Scientists have estimated that the fossil may be as old as 1.6 million years. Turkana is located approximately 1,000 km northwest of Nairobi.
Data from the ministry of tourism indicated that in 2011, Kenya’s tourism sector earned over $1 billion after receiving 1.2 international million tourists.
The Kenyan government has already stepped up efforts to expand its tourism revenues by increasing products. The east African country relies on its wildlife and coastal beaches to allure visitors.
The government has also pledged to open up the northern parts of of the country, which includes Turkana region, to foreign and domestic tourists.
“These fossils are a significant resource to Kenya and should be harnessed for the benefit of the nation Kenyans,” Leakey said.
The Daily News Post India (tdnpost)