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Maasai Tribe's High End Theory

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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PRICELESS A Maasai warrior helps Gisele hawk Amex Kenya's photogenic Maasai tribe, owners of the famed Maasai Mara game reserve, are no strangers to the media glare. Its members have appeared in Hollywood blockbusters like Independence Day, fashion spreads by Sebastiao Salgado and David Bailey, and ads for credit cards, cell phones, and insurance companies. Now they're kicking their brand-consciousness up a notch.

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In an effort to help bolster Kenya's image as a high-end tourist destination, London's Telegraph reports the PR-savvy tribesmen are banning "budget travelers" from visiting the reserve.

The initiative will mandate minimum nightly rates at all of the reserve's hotels and hike the price of park admission.

"We have something unique to preserve in the Masai Mara, and we have got to get a bit snobbish about it," spokesman Duncan Murikiri explained to the paper.

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