The facility to be called Bomas International Conference and Exhibition Centre will sit on a 82-acres at the current Bomas of Kenya grounds.
The centre will have a 15,000 capacity exhibition space, 10,000-delegate capacity conference centre, five luxurious hotels with a total capacity of 2,000 beds, presidential pavilions, VIP pavilions, fully furnished apartments, coffee shops and business centres among others.
The hotels will range from 2-star to 7-star and will cater for all categories of exhibitors and conference tourists. South Africa’s Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) is the biggest in Africa.
Kenya is using CTICC and London’s World Travel Market Centre as benchmarks as the country seeks to attract business travellers in its bid to achieve a target of about three million tourists annually by 2017.
The Bomas centre will be strategically placed, 11 kilometres from the city centre and just a stone’s throw away from Nairobi National Park.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said development of the centre offers a central plank of how the sector intends to go forward in the medium and long term.
The ministry is also seeking partners to help build another exhibition and conference centre in Mombasa.
“We need to go big on convention and conference tourism. We also need to make more hay out of cultural tourism and you will see more cultural festivals in partnership with the counties as well,” she said.
Bomas CEO Ahmed Quresh said construction will begin next year, adding that the private sector will partner with the State to fund the project.
He said they haven’t estimated the cost as this will be determined once consultants have been brought on board but sources in the ministry say the project may cost Sh50 billion.