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Kenya tees off globally

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 24 – Kenya is set to join the league of world golf tourism destinations following an endorsement by International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO).

A team of IAGTO officials led by the Chief Executive Peter Walton who have been in Kenya to inspect golf facilities says the country meets international standards but are not well known.
Mr Walton said his organisation would help the Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance to develop a golf marketing strategy that will enable the country get a slice of the $26 billion generated by the golf tourism globally. This includes organising the IAGTO Golf Festival in Kenya in 2011 and familiarisation trip of international golfers to Kenya.
Speaking during a briefing with the IAGTO officials, Tourism Minister Najib Balala said golf tourism will be part of the Kenya Tourism Board tourism diversification product with a specific strategy to market it.
“With proper marketing of the destination, golf tourism can add substantial amounts of tourism earnings to the country and also help fill the gaps that exist in the low seasons,” said the Minister. He said the government would support the initiatives to promote golf and would take part in the next International Golf Travel Market (ITGM).
So far, KTB has supported Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance projects and funded initiatives such as the Golf Kenya brochure, a golf destination DVD as well as participation at the International Golf Travel Market. However lack of sufficient destination marketing funds is cited as the main reason for Kenya golf absence in the international media.
Last year, Kenya won the "Undiscovered Golf Destination Award" for 2009 at the premiere golf trade show the ITGM held in Spain.
“This award effectively placed Kenya on the golf destination map and can result in more visitors to Kenya depending on how we market the destination since the golf product mixes very well with our Safari and Beach product,” Mr Balala said.
During the last one week the IAGTO team of Peter Walton and Carlton Carugatti visited various golf courses in Kenya including the new Vipingo Ridge in North Coast, Karen, Royal, Muthaiga, Golf Park, Great Rift Valley, Windsor, Sigona, Limuru, Leisure Lodge, Nyali and the proposed Aberdare Hills in Gilgil.
Kenya has 41 golf courses, more than any other African country with the exception of South Africa and is endowed with the perfect climatic conditions for the game of golf all year round.
Over 50 million people play golf worldwide out of which 70 percent are on the lookout for new golfing destination, according to Mr Walton. Golf also attracts affluent who spend more than the general leisure tourist.
Present in the briefing were the Chairman of Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance  David Stogdale and the Secretary Mike Macharia.

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