State moots conferencing agency

Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) auditorium. [Courtesy]
Kenya is seeking to increase earnings from conference tourism. This has seen the State operationalise an entity charged with marketing the country as a meeting and events destination.

The move is part of deepening conferencing in the country, which is critical in diversifying Kenya’s tourism offering from the traditional bush and beach.

The Kenya National Convention Bureau is expected to market Kenya as a conference and events destination and coordinate in pitching for high-level events to be hosted in the country.

The Tourism Ministry last Friday constituted a ten-member advisory board to oversee operationalisation of the Bureau.

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The board is made up of officials from the National Treasury, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Sports Ministries as well as the private sector, including the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kenya Tourism Federation.

According to Tourism Ministry, the Bureau will develop and implement a national business events strategy, market Kenya as a business events destination, advise and coordinate the bidding process for Meetings Incentives Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) events by public and private entities.

It will also provide leadership in expanding the economic benefits and impact of MICE tourism. The Bureau’s work will be distinct from that of Kenya Tourism Board that markets the country as a tourism destination.

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Currently, marketing the country as a conferencing destination is undertaken without a central agency taking the lead.

Kenya last year got two million tourists out of which, only 12.7 were in the country as business tourists.

The Bureau is projected to aid the country catch up with Rwanda that has performed better than Kenya in MICE rankings.

Kigali was last year ranked as the second-best conference tourism destination in Africa after Cape Town. Nairobi was fourth, according to the International Congress and Convention Association.

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Macharia KamauNational Convention BureauTourism MinistryKenya Private Sector AllianceConference tourism