Kenya looks to become competitive destination for business conferencing

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Speaking during the launch of Kenya’s inaugural Meetings, Incentive travel, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) forum in East and Central Africa, cabinet secretary for East African affairs, commerce and tourism, Phyllis Kandie said, “For the first time, Kenya will host the 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) ministerial conference in December 2015.”

“We have also won the bids to host the world conference on PR forums in November 2015. Further we have been successful in attracting other MICE events including the SKAL World Congress that will happen this year in Mombasa among other bids.”

According to Kandie, each of these conferences will inject more than two billion Kenyan shillings into the economy and will attract more than 21,000 local and international delegates.

The government is also looking to position Kenya as one of the main tourism business frontiers globally.

(READ MORE: Kenyan tourism faces negative impact due to domestic terrorism)

Through the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, it has increased Kenya’s capacity for MICE through the development of additional convention centres as well as other infrastructure developments.

“This will package Kenya as a competitive destination for business conferencing and exhibitions,” Kandie noted.

The conferences that Kenya will be hosting are expected to spur growth in the tourism sector, which has been perturbed by travel advisories as a result of terror threats. The country has seen historical lows in terms of tourists arrivals recently.

Lucy Karume, chair of Kenya Tourism Federation said, “Kenya is a beautiful country. Kenya loves to host visitors but one of the most fundamental contributions to tourism is a secure country. If we do not get that right then automatically we lose our visitors.”

“But I can see that now, we have a very strong focus on security we have the hoteliers themselves doing training programmes. We have tour operators doing programmes with their drivers to remain alert.”

Recently, Kenya was ranked as one the seven top investment destinations in developing markets due to its political stability and sound macroeconomic management.

(READ MORE: Kenya aims to be prime investment destination)

This ranking is also anticipated to see the country become an economic powerhouse in Africa.

“Africa is rising and we see that by the number of investment inquires that we get from delegations of investors that are coming into this country. We have positioned Kenya as the entry point to the East African Community [EAC] and the East and Central Africa region,” Kandie said.