MICE

Nairobi to grow business travel in 2019, boost tourism sector

Kenya is embarking on increasing Its conventions and conference facilities.

In Summary

•KNBS data shows the number of international conferences and delegates grew by 6.8 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively in 2018.

•Local conferences and delegates grew 7.9 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.

An electronic sign at the entrance of KICC
An electronic sign at the entrance of KICC
Image: FILE

Nairobi’s meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) tourism has grown over the past few years to become a key revenue contributor in the tourism industry.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics the number of international conferences and delegates grew by 6.8 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively in 2018.

On the other hand, local conferences and delegates grew 7.9 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively.

“The improved performance was a result of a conducive environment for tourism, withdrawal of travel advisories and high-profile international conferences and meetings held in 2018,” the 2019 Economic Survey stated.

Some of the high-profile conferences held in the country last year include The first ordinary session of the African Union Ministerial Sub-Committee on Tourism, The 79th International Skal World Congress, The Sustainable Blue Economy and the African Hotel Investment Forum.

This good MICE performance saw tourism earnings grow 31.3 per cent last year to sh157.4 billion from Sh119.9 billion, with the number of international visitors growing 14 per cent to 2.03 million tourists.

“Kenya’s MICE sector has taken steady steps to grow and accelerate the development of its offerings across the leisure and business tourism spectrums, giving international business visitors ample opportunity to enjoy authentic tourism experiences, both inside and beyond the venue walls,” PrideInn Hotels managing director Hasnain Noorani said.

He added that more work needed to go into fortifying Mombasa as a MICE destination to increase business tourist numbers at the Coast.

“In the recent two years we have seen international organizations choosing Mombasa as their preferred location for meetings and events,” PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort Joy Morai said.

Last week, Nairobi was named Africa’s Leading Business Travel Destination as the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) scooped a top award as Africa’s Leading Meetings & Conference destination at this year’s 26th Annual World Travel Award (WTA).

The award will spearhead Kenya’s marketing campaigns positioning the destination as attractive for meetings, incentives travel, conferences and exhibitions even as the country is embarking on increasing Its conventions and conference facilities.

Nairobi beat other top African destinations including Durban, Cape Town, and Kigali.

Kenya’s conference tourism is expected to go a notch higher with a number of conference bids the country is placing to host.