, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 19 – Kenya will host the Africa Travel Association (ATA) Congress in November this year.
The forum brings together key players in the tourism travel industry from Africa and the world.
More than 500 delegates are expected to participate in the convention with majority being from the private sector.
This comes as the country is also hosting the forthcoming 10th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference scheduled for December.
Member countries of the WTO unanimously made the decision following intense lobbying by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade led by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.
Addressing officials from the Africa Travel Association who called on him at his Karen office on Thursday, led by Executive Director Edward Bergman, Deputy President William Ruto said Kenya was prepared and ready to host the congress.
The officials were on a fact-finding mission on tourist sites ahead of the November ATA congress.
Ruto said the government has put in place firm measures to tackle insecurity, which has hindered the development of the tourism sector.
“We should not allow issues like terrorism to discourage tourists from visiting this great country. Terrorism and extremists are not unique to Kenya. They are a global problems which require global efforts to end,” he said.
He also challenged both local and international media in the country to ”avoid temptations of focusing on trivialities and instead highlight the positive gains realised by the government in the fight against terrorism.
“Let’s avoid negative perception of the country and Africa as whole. This situation has come as a result of misinformation or lack of information about the continent,” he said.
He said the government is committed to making Kenya the preferred tourist destination in Africa by vigorously campaigning to boost the country’s image abroad.
On her part, East Africa, Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said the ministry was doing everything possible to make the congress a success saying it was through such initiatives that the country promotes the tourism sector.
“We want to send the right signals to the world that Kenya is safe and remains the best preferred tourism destination in the world. In short we are telling tourists all over the world that Kenya is back into the market,” Kandie added.
ATA is an international travel and trade association that promotes tourism to the African continent and intra-Africa partnerships.