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Balala sees 18pc surge in tourism expansion

Kenya’s tourism industry is expected to witness remarkable growth this year, following a mega world tourism and travel conference slated for October in Mombasa.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that the 79th Skål International World Congress being held in Kenya for the first time assisted by improving security could enable sector grow by 18 per cent. The industry further targets to grow tourist arrivals from 1.5 million to 2.2 million in five years.

“This conference was supposed to be held in Kenya in 2015, but was cancelled because of security concerns. Kenya is safe, Mombasa beaches are safe and that is why this conference will be taking place in the country to prove that we are safe as a destination,” Balala said yesterday.

Kenya had in 2014, won the bid ahead of Peru to host the SKAL International world congress which had previously been scheduled for Mombasa in 2015 but was cancelled following security alerts and travel advisories due to a series of terror attacks that rocked the country.

The congress targets about 500 delegates across the globe with 210 delegates having already signed up for the four-day event which is expected to provide a unique opportunity for its members around the globe as well as tour and experience special features and unique tourism products offered by the Kenyan hospitality industry.

Balala said the government has put strong measures in place to enhance safety of delegates and the facelift of Mombasa city has gone ahead to ensure these visitors enjoy the ambience.

He disclosed that the majority of delegates for the October 17 to 21 congress will shuttle from Nairobi to Mombasa via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) commuter train while the remainder will use chartered flights.

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