, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – The expansion of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is set to begin in the first quarter of 2017.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the ministry is in search of a consultant who will do the work of building another Tsavo Ballroom at the COMESA grounds.
The Ministry is also planning to build another convention centre in Mombasa on a 2.5 acre piece of land.
“I have mandated both the board and the management of KICC and Tourism Finance Corporation to look for a consultant and fast track the process and advertisements for a consultant have already been done however it must be done within the confines of the law.” he explained.
The move is expected to enhance the Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) segment that has continued to grow significantly.
Kenya has seen a steady rise in MICE tourist arrivals over the past few years.
In 2015 the country hosted 117,630 foreign arrivals taking part in MICE activities, representing a 13 per cent increase on the 2014 total, and 15.6 per cent of the total number of international tourist arrivals for the year.
“We need to up our game, the competition is stiff and Kenya will lose out if we don’t (up our game) in security , infrastructure and service delivery; most of the bids we won were because the tourism industry internationally are standing in solidarity with Kenya because we have been victims of terrorism,” he explained.
Kenya hosted key international events in 2016 that includes the World Trade Organisation’s tenth Ministerial Conference, the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development among others.
To further boost the segment, the Cabinet Secretary formed a special task force to establish a Kenya Convention Bureau, to promote the country’s MICE segment.
The main purpose of the Bureau is to increase the number of events, conferences and other such meetings held in the country.
Balala charged the team with coming up with a working strategy in the next 60 days.
Nairobi won ‘Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination’ of 2016 World Travel Award; an improvement over the last three years when it was runners up.