NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala projects conference tourism to grow significantly in 2016 owing to the huge conferences being held in the country that include the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD).
Balala projects conference tourists will hit 130,000 by the end of 2016 up from the 77,000 recorded in 2015.
The year 2014 recorded 44,000 conference tourists.
He says the government is also working on infrastructure in the counties to see Kenya sell the conference tourism in other counties like Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret other than the capital.
“The most important thing of these conferences has been to build the confidence of the destination. It’s not about just Nairobi, it’s about Kenya. Then from there we can expand and move to Mombasa and other counties which are attractive like the beach resort conferencing,” he stated.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the handover of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) to the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed ahead of TICAD.
He urged hoteliers to offer quality services so as the visitors can come back.
“The impact of the huge number of people coming to the city is going to demand for better facilities, services, people will be judged by better quality of service provided to the customer. In the next one week the city will be buzzing, there will be demand for clubs and other services,” he explained.
The tourism sector has experienced a two year spell of poor performance largely occasioned by security concerns and economic downturn in some key tourist markets.
However in the latest economic report from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics the sector seems to be recovering as it was the most improved sector growing by 12.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.
In the period under review the number of tourist arrivals at major airports increased from 231,038 in the first quarter of 2015 to 261,404 in the quarter under review attributable to mitigation measures that were instituted to boost tourist arrivals.
Kenya expects the Tokyo International Conference on Africa Development (TICAD) in Nairobi to inject Sh12 billion into the economy.
About 35 African Heads of State have confirmed attendance the conference with more expected to confirm.
Over 100 companies from Japan will be in the country to exhibit as part of the 4,000 delegates from Japan.
The country is also set to host the Africa Agricultural Forum on September 4th to 9th 2016.
Over 2,000 delegates are expected to attend this forum aimed at discussing the future of Africa’s Agriculture as a main source of food, employment and income.
In November 28 to December 1, 2016, Kenya will also host the second high level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.