Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) has embarked on an marketing campaign to promote conference and business tourism.
The parastatal tasked with selling Kenya’s conference tourism globally has lined up roadshows in the US market, with other regions such as Europe, Middle East and Russia on its radar, as it continues bidding for major global and regional conferences.
Chief executive Nana Gecaga yesterday said KICC is targeting global conferences set for the next five to ten years, continental meets, regional conferences and the domestic market, to retain Kenya and KICC’s position as a leading Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions(MICE) destination.
“We are already a destination but we can’t sit and wait for conferences, We have to work for it. ‘” she said at a breakfast briefing.
Gecaga said KICC is closely working with airlines, hotels and associations to explore ways of making Kenya a leading tourism and Mice destination.
KICC is riding on past events which include the successful hosting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14) in July 2016, Tokyo International Conference on African Development(TICAD-VI) and last year’s Sustainable Blue Economy Conference which attracted over 18,000 delegates.
KICC was recognised as Africa’s leading meetings and conference destination at this year’s World Travel Award (in June), where Kenya was named Africa’s leading business travel destination.
Tourism Research Institute(TRI) data shows of the 921,090 visitors to the country in between January to June, 18 per cent or about 165,796 were here on business purpose which include meetings and conferences.
It is estimated that every international delegate spends at least Sh376,000 per conference trip of about three to six days, reflecting the huge potential MICE holds for the economy.
KICC is however facing stiff competition from Cairo Convention Centre in Egypt, Cape Town Convention Centre and Durban Convention Centre(South Africa) and the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda which has brought competition to Kenya’s door step.
Gecaga pegged hope on the Convention and Exhibition Bureau being set up by the government, saying it will help the country successfully bid for major events.
The bureau, under the Tourism Ministry , will be dedicated to bidding and securing major continental and intercontinental meetings, conferences and exhibitions.
If successfully unveiled, the country will be at par with Rwanda which launched such an entity in 2014, and has since become a powerful influencer on MICE in the continent.
“Rwanda is doing well we must give credit where it is due but we are also in the process of setting up our own which will strengthen our bidding globally,” Gecaga said.
Major events lined up for the remainder of the year include the East Africa Mining and Energy Conference set for October 16-17, International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD plus 25), the Inter – African Coffee Organization Symposium in November and a one week Arab Council Conference in December.
KICC expects to have hosted at least 11,750 delegates between July and December.