A collaboration betweenGoogle, Ministry of Tourism,Kenya Wildlife Services, the County Governments of Narok and Samburu and the management ofOl Pejeta Conservancyhas put 21 Kenyan National Parks and one Conservancy on the Street View feature of Google Maps
Street View is a 360-degree ground-level imagery layer found on Google Maps that enables users to remotely explore landmarks, navigate a trip, explore the streets of cities and towns, and visit other places of interest from around the world.
Some of the Parks where users can now take virtual tours include Maasai Mara Reserve, Amboseli National , Nairobi National Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Mount Kenya National Park, Hell’s Gate National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Tsavo National Park and Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Others include:Chyulu HillsNational Park, Lake Nakuru National Park, Meru National Park, Mount Longonot, OlDonyoSabuk, Sibiloi, Bisanadi National Reserve, Aberdare National Park, Saiwa Swamp National Park, Mount Elgon, Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Ruma National Park, and Shimba Hills National Reserve.
Visitors are increasingly going online to scout for potential destinations, hence the advantage of the preview offered by the virtual imagery.
Charles Murito, Google Kenya Country Director said that this launch places emphasis on the impact that Google products and platforms have in helping Kenyans and empowering them to build & grow their businesses in order to create economic growth. “Tourism is a vital contributor to our GDP and I believe that we at Google can play an active part to help grow this sector through our products. This can be in the form of showcasing the sites that Kenya has to offer, to providing targeted advertising in order to reach interested travellers,” he stressed.
“With 82% of travellers undecided on a destination and 74% of them starting their research or inspiration online, it’s critical that we have Kenya online. Millward Brown study found that with exposure to a video tourism ad, travellers are 6 times more likely to book,” Murito added.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is currently positioning its National Parks and Reserves on the global map as ideal destinations for adventure, wildlife safaris, sight-seeing, marine experiences and the rich cultural experiences. Street View is expected to improve KWS’s brand identity, develop a ready and accessible information hub for customers, better target audience reach, and build a virtual shop for KWS products.
The launch of Google Street View will hopefully boost Kenya’s tourism sector by encouraging visitor numbers to the parks.