•Kenya will be exhibiting at the exclusive event for the first time under the ‘Meet in Kenya’ banner.
•The Kenya National Convention Bureau is targeting to propel Kenya to the top 50 MICE destination globally.
Kenya is banking on the tourism trade show in Frankfurt, Germany to market its meeting and conference facilities, as countries strategise on post-Covid recovery.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala is leading a delegation of business meetings and events companies from the public and private sector to the three days event, which runs from May 31 to June 2.
Kenya will be exhibit at the exclusive Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Events (MICE) event for the first time under the ‘Meet in Kenya’ banner, as the IMEX Frankfurt makes a come back after two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes at a time when country and global meetings industry is slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic that saw a sharp decline in tourism due to travel restrictions.
The annual Tourism Sector Performance Report 2021, by the Tourism Research Institute (TRI), shows that last year, international arrivals for business events and meetings was 229,804, accounting for 26.40 per cent of the total arrivals.
Total visitor arrivals to Kenya grew 53 per cent compared to the previous year, closing at 870,465 , from 567,848.
The business and MICE numbers were close to the 299,802 visitors who came into the country for holiday, which has traditionally been the main reason of visit.
It was the third purpose of visit after the 257,357 who came into the country to visit family and friends, TRI data shows.
“The forum aims to build consensus on critical advocacy issues for both destinations and policy makers and align conversations and actions towards increasing sustainable economic benefits of business events. Kenya has put in place strategies to grow this important sector,” Balala said yesterday.
Kenya was ranked fifth in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Africa country ranking for association meetings, with Nairobi ranked number five on the city rankings, and Mombasa at 13th in Africa.
It was ranked 73 in the continent, in 2018.
The gap in proactive MICE marketing and bidding and general information about the market readiness and available facilities to host meetings has been an inhibitor to growth of the sector, according to the Kenya National Convention Bureau(KNCB).
The bureau, led by National Coordinator Jacinta Nzioka, is targeting to propel Kenya to the top 50 MICE destination globally and at least top two in Africa in the short-medium-term.
Kenya Tourism Board, PrideInn Hotels, Twiga Tours, Enashipai Hotels and Resorts, African Quest Safaris, Accor-Fairmont Kenya and Glory safaris are among the 3,500 exhibitors in Frankfurt.
It is estimated that every international delegate spends at least Sh370,000 per conference trip of about three to six days, reflecting the huge potential MICE holds for the economy.