Sandra Wekesa @PeopleSports11
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has unveiled the first mountain bike race dubbed Arabuko Sokoke Forest Challenge with Tembea Kenya in Kilifi County which is set to become part of a tourist attraction in the country.
KTB partnered with Ngong Hills Individual Time Trial (NHITT) for the event that profiled the forest as an additional visitor experience sport besides the beach product.
Arabuko Sokoke Forest is the largest and most intact coastal forest in East Africa, with 20 per cent of Kenya’s bird species, 30 per cent of butterfly species and at least 24 rare and endemic bird, mammal and butterfly species. The race is also part of the campaigns geared towards forest conservation. Renowned Kenyan cyclist David Kinja led the cyclists, both local and international, in the 64-kilometre mountain challenge in the forest.
The event will be replicated in Machakos and the Great Rift Valley in June and July respectively.
“We need to enrich our visitor experience so that besides the beach and water sport activities, we also showcase other attractions in the selected sub destinations and push the adventure segment of travel that is increasingly attracting interest among the millennials” said KTB Chief Executive Officer Betty Radier during the unveiling of the event at the weekend.
Radier says that the sporting event was new and exciting especially for young and middle aged populations who are increasingly seeking out an active lifestyle, for leisure as well as fitness and networking.
“Kenya is a perfect destination for biking safaris due to the favourable weather throughout the year.
The outlying tourist attractions along the competition routes attract the audience which follows the riders,” added Radier.
The partnership comes a week after a one-month KTB training of domestic travel agents across the county to equip them with other first-hand experiences of what Kenya has to offer to the domestic segment.
Radier says domestic tourism segment has continued to cushion the sector during low seasons and its performance is on the rise with the current performance showing a 15.9 per cent growth.