TOURISM

Nairobi expressway will boost city’s attractiveness for MICE tourism, enhance visitor experience

The economy will be boosted through the influx of tourists thereby increasing the foreign exchange value

In Summary

• The upcoming double-decker road christened “Nairobi expressway” is set to give the capital a major facelift.

• It will position it as the most attractive city in East, Central and Horn of Africa by reducing travel time from JKIA and Syokimau SGR railway station to the city center

The Nairobi Expressway will run from Mlolongo in Machakos county to James Gichuru Junction, Nairobi.
The Nairobi Expressway will run from Mlolongo in Machakos county to James Gichuru Junction, Nairobi.
Image: COURTESY

Meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (MICE) tourism has been an essential part of business tourism in Kenya for decades, and its share in the economy is growing each year.

The upcoming double-decker road christened “Nairobi expressway” is set to give the capital a major facelift. It will position it as the most attractive city in East, Central and Horn of Africa by reducing travel time from JKIA and Syokimau SGR railway station to the city center and beyond.

Linking JKIA and Westlands is very crucial in making Nairobi attract quality MICE tourism. It has huge effects on the level of patronage of tourism sites in Nairobi and other destinations outside the city.

For MICE to flourish, the country needs to continue investing heavily on road infrastructure, especially in maintenance, improvement and construction of new roads. This would, undoubtedly enhance the level of patronage of beautiful tourist sites and have remarkable contribution in the country’s GDP considering that through this, Kenya would earn foreign revenue from tourists and conference attendees.

The economy will be boosted through the influx of tourists thereby increasing the foreign exchange value, the publicity of the attraction, product, services consumption and exploitation by the provision of a ready market for local products, goods and services.

The growth of MICE industry in Kenya, especially in Nairobi post-Covid-19 depends mainly on patronage. The patronage to our hotels and tourist sites can be enhanced through the provision of well-maintained and functioning transport network.

Hospitality industry stakeholders are hopeful that the Nairobi expressway will address the perennial and costly traffic jams, which, according to the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, costs the Sh100 billion every year. Congested roads, especially Mombasa Road, have been blamed for diverting mega conferences to other destinations in Africa.

Large number of MICE activities take place in capital cities, whereas the business tourist may visit other places if they add on some leisure travel during their visit, transport network is a key enabler in moving tourists from their place of residence to their final destination and on to various attractions.

Transport connects the markets in tourism generating regions to destinations and facilitates the internal movement of visitors between components of the tourist experience for instance attractions, accommodation, commercial services among others. Good road network can be a major element of the attraction or an experience in their own right.

A major objective of government transport policy ought to achieve a coordinated and integrated transport system that is efficient, safe, secure, sustainable, accessible, financially viable and competitive, and meets both the short and long-term needs of the economy and the community.

Road infrastructure has a remarkable effect on tourism systems, and accessibility is also predicated on good road infrastructure and networks. If the roads are bad, tourists will not be able to have easy access to tourist sites in the destination countries. This, will, undoubtedly have effects on people whose major source of livelihood is from the jobs and revenue generated as a result of tourism.

A good and effective transportation network is also a good marketing strategy for the traveling agencies that facilitate travels and organise tourism activities for individuals and organisation.

Good road infrastructure serves as an integral link between transportation, product of tourism and the tourism market. The provision of good road infrastructure will enable efficient and effective transportation which is the catalyst factor for the sustainability of tourism system without which tourism cannot survive.

A respectable road network to the tourist sites is important because the more tourists visit places of interests for purposes of recreation and relaxation, the more revenue is being generated towards tourism growth and development.

To this end, a sustainable tourism is highly dependent on the provision of assets and amenities required for continuous patronage to tourist sites. More importantly, “transportation is inevitable for effective socioeconomic interaction, cultural integration and overall regional development of the built environment”

The writer is the CEO and founder of PrideInn group of hotels