Kenya now eyes Golf tourism pie, CS Balala says

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (right) presents a trophy to the 2019 Ladies Invitational golf professional winner Linda Wessberg at the PGA Baobab's Vipingo Ridge Course in Kilifi County. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]
After a resounding 2018 where Kenya recorded 2 million tourist arrivals, the country is now laying focus on tapping into the huge potential that exists in Golf tourism, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Mr Najib Balala has said.

Speaking at the prestigious Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Vipingo Ridge Baobab Course, Kilifi County over the weekend, the CS noted that his Ministry will lay more emphasis on promoting Kenya as a wonderful Golf tourism destination.

''With superb golfing courses dotted around the world and the favourable year round weather condition, we are not leaving nothing to chance as we lay focus on golf tourism,'' the CS said.

Balala presided over the award ceremony during the two day 36 hole Pro Am Ladies Invitational Tournament that attracted 13 Professional Lady Golfers from Europe who toured Kenya to play golf and sample tourism attractions at the same time.

Ms Camilla Lennarth, one of the Lady professional golfers from Sweden expressed her desire to come back to Kenya after her first visit.

'' I was overjoyed when I took the short trip to Tsavo National Park and come face to face with huge elephants that roam the wild freely. You have such am amazing country, she said.

World renowned sports and media firm, U.COM through its Managing Director, Mr Dirk Glittenberg said that they will be beaming the event to its global audience of golf enthusiasts thus proving publicity for Kenya.

Balala added that the country is endowed with many international standard golf courses in key major towns all over and this makes it easier for visitors to sample where they want to go play golf across Kenya.

Whether for entertainment, primary motivation or secondary activity, golf attracts thousands of travellers every year.

Considering this enthusiasm for a sport, many global organisations and tour operators have started arranging golf tours, which is not only boosting the sport but also creating opportunities for tourism in that particular place.

Golf is not only a revenue generator sport, but also an opportunity creator for travel and hospitality services such as hotels, restaurants, cars and airlines.

Various countries have also recognised that golf tourists tend to spend more than average tourists and are therefore investing a lot to reap the benefits of extra foreign revenue.

According to a report published by Technavio.com, Global Golf Tourism Market 2017 – 2021, the global golf tourism market in 2016 totalled a huge $22.92 billion (Sh2.3 trillion) and from their research this market will total $44.6 billion (Sh4.46 trillion).

Balala who was accompanied by Principal Secretary, Mr Joe Okudo, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO Dr Betty Radier and Sports Kenya Chairman Mr Fred Muteti said that one of the most important benefits of golf tourism is that it generates a hefty amount of revenue.

He added that his Ministry will be partnering with likeminded sponsors to boost golf tourism in Kenya.

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Golf tourismTourismNajib BalalaProfessional Golfers Association