FORWARD LOOKING

Sarit banks on international marketing to attract expos

In Summary
  • New facility built at more than Sh500 million
  • The centre has incurred Sh45 million loss since March when Covid-19 started to ravage the economy.
Sarit Expo Centre CEO Jason Zeelie
Sarit Expo Centre CEO Jason Zeelie
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

The Sarit Expo Centre management is counting on international marketing to tap exhibitions and conferences to its new Nairobi facility, as the global economy slowly re-opens.

Located at the Sarit Mall, the new exhibition centre has been built at a cost of more than Sh500 million, with its large column-free hall offering an area of 3,311 square meter, one of the biggest in-house single exhibition facility in the country.

Speaking during an interview with the Star, CEO Jason Zeelie said the centre has lined up a number of roadshows and marketing campaigns, with main target markets being Dubai and the United Kingdom.

The centre has incurred Sh45 million loss since March when Covid-19 started to ravage the economy.

“We were forced to cancel 70 events,” Zeelie noted.

The Sarit Expo has been part of the country's MICE business segment for 26 years, one of the leading exhibition facilities in the country.

“We want to market the facility to exhibitors and event organizers out there but this will depend on how travel is going to be,” Zeelie said.

He has called on the Kenya National Convention Bureau (KNCB) to partner with industry players in marketing Kenya as a premiere business tourism destination.

''Its time we see on how we can take Kenya to the global market and bring business home,” Zeelie said.

He said while Kenya has the potential to tap into conference and business tourism, it is yet to fully benefit from the segment which can rival leisure tourism on earnings and contribution to the economy.

 

“We need to market MICE as a product. For long it has been thrown into leasure tourism he we loose out,” said Zeelie.

He said Rwanda and South Africa have made gains in MICE as a result of marketing specific events and venues.

Sarit has started getting bookings for 2021, 2022 and 2023 from both the domestic and international markets.

The new expo centre has the capacity to hold more than 200 exhibition booths at a go with the potential of 5,000 people visiting every day.

Zeelie said the centre, which is open for business, is expecting to attract local and regional expos before international events resume post Covid-19.