Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) yesterday marked 45 years since its inauguration with a fresh focus on renovations to tap growing conference tourism in the country.
The facelift, already in motion, will propel KICC as an all-round business facility capable of attracting global events and high-profile international conferences that have previously eluded the country, Chief executive Nana Gecaga said.“We have embarked on an upgrade of our meeting rooms to increase our competitiveness in the region as well as aggressive marketing both locally and internationally to see that the country bids to host major conferences,” she said.
“We are looking at partnerships with organisers of some of the key events being booked at the centre to extend these celebrations for the next 12 months,” Gecaga added.
Stronger brand recognition, coupled with improved security climate and higher capacity are thought to be driving growth in Kenya’s meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism segment. According to data by Oxford Business Group, Kenya has seen a steady rise in MICE tourist arrivals since 2014, with the country having hosted 117,630 foreign arrivals taking part in MICE activities.
That growth represents about 13 per cent jump from 2014 and 15.6 per cent of the number of international tourist arrivals for the same year.
Despite the growth, Margaret Mwakima, Wildlife Principal Secretary, said that lack of adequate bed capacity is hindering the segment’s growth.
“We can do better as a country in conference tourism,” she said.