NAIROBI, Kenya, July 25 – There are close to 5,000 visitors in Nairobi amid the ongoing Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), according to the Tourism Ministry.
The forum which is taking place at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, was officially opened on Saturday by US President Barack Obama.
Kenya was expecting at least 1,500 visitors to attend the forum but according to the Ministry’s Director of Communications Kaplich Barsito, the numbers have gone up to 2,000.
Others include visitors who accompanied the US President some of whom are not necessarily GES delegates.
Almost all the hotels in Nairobi and its environs have been booked to capacity, especially 5 star hotels.
“I know like Stanley hotel here, which has around 217 rooms has been fully booked. I know some guests had to be transferred to other hotels,” he explained.
The visitors are expected to play a great role in telling the actual Kenyan story and help boost tourism.
Apart from the visitors at GES, Barsito revealed that 180 Italians tourist arrived yesterday in Mombasa with a chatter flight.
“This is an indication that Kenya is set for tourism growth and the tourists who came with Meridiana Chatter flight is an indication that people are ready to come,” he says.
But even as we celebrate the high number of visitor in Nairobi, the ‘Nairobians’ themselves have decided to go out of town in the name of avoiding inconveniences envisaged with Obama presence.
“Like you have just seen, the city is deserted and what I can tell you is that some are in Mombasa, Nakuru and Naivasha. Most of the middle class have been pushed out of their homes to hotel and these means they are also supporting our domestic tourism,” he says.
At the moment some of the hotels bookings in Mombasa, Nakuru and Naivasha are ranging between 50 to 60 percent.
“All I can say is that Washington DC is in town and Nairobi out of town. Some are calling ObamaMigration”
He however admits that Kenyan tourism is still fragile but all things looking good considering other forums that are slated before the year ends.