MODERNISATION

State to transform Bomas into an ultra-modern facility

Initiative aimed at boosting tourism and hospitality, CS Balala says.

In Summary

•Bomas of Kenya marked its 50th anniversary on Wednesday.

•It has remained the leading custodian of Kenya’s diverse cultures.

Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala (in blue suite) leads celebrations to mark Bomas of Kenya’s 50th anniversary/HANDOUT
Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala (in blue suite) leads celebrations to mark Bomas of Kenya’s 50th anniversary/HANDOUT

Entities in the tourism and hospitality sectors are in for a major transformation in the coming years courtesy of an infrastructural improvement programme, Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said.

This includes modernisation of the conferencing and exhibition facilities at Bomas of Kenya.

According to Balala, it is in the interest of the country’s economic prosperity to transform Bomas of Kenya into a modern Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) centre.

We are in talks with the National Treasury with a view to finding ways of supporting Bomas of Kenya to become a modern MICE facility to boost cultural and business tourism,” the CS announced.

He spoke during  an event to mark Bomas of Kenya’s 50th anniversary,  on Wednesday, at the state corporation’s headquarters on Langata Road, Nairobi.

The celebrations culminated with the unveiling of a cultural and conference facility dubbed 'Baraza Hall' which has a seating capacity of 950 delegates.

With the new facility, Bomas of Kenya’s conference facilities capacity now stands at about 5,500,  making it one of the largest international convention and exhibition centres in East and Central Africa.

CS Balala urged the board and management of Bomas to moot new and innovative ways of integrating cultural tourism and business tourism so as to appeal to a wider market.

“Let us make Bomas of Kenya a transformative place for the whole country and not just Nairobi. As you do this, try and make our culture more attractive to our young people,” the CS said.

He called on the youth to appreciate the African culture as much as they appreciate modernity.

Bomas of Kenya chief executive officer Peter Gitaa said there is an urgent need to invest in cultural tourism as a country, as culture is a unique selling point in modern global tourism.

“As we modernise our conferencing and exhibition facilities, it gives us room for an innovative approach to cultural preservation and use of digital technology that will attract more local and international tourists,” Gitaa said.

Armed with a vision of being the leading custodian of Kenya’s diverse cultures as a national heritage for prosperity and posterity, Bomas of Kenya offers customisable, unique tourism experiences to both local and international visitors, making it a preferred cultural centre of excellence boasting over 5,000 international tourists annually.

With a growing interest in cultural heritage globally, growth in cultural tourism has the potential to increase a positive worldview of the importance of cultural resources as a tool for creating economic development while preserving cultural resources," said Gitaa.

The Bomas of Kenya modernisation programme encompasses strengthening the institution’s authority on cultural preservation and tourism development, geared towards addressing the challenges the tourism sector has faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The programme will also focus on marketing existing products and services and strengthening the Bomas brand by introducing new or revamped products such as new and unique cultural, hospitality and tourism facilities as the institution projects into the future.

Launched in 1971 for the sole purpose of preserving, maintaining, educating and promoting the diverse cultures of various ethnic groups in Kenya, Bomas of Kenya has remained the leading custodian of Kenya’s diverse cultures as a national heritage for prosperity and posterity.

The Golden Jubilee event was also attended by tourism Chief Administrative Secretary Joseph Boinett, tourism PS Safina Kwekwe, Bomas board chair Josiah Magut among others.