The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Country Ranked Second in Conference Tourism

NAIVASHA has made a debut in global conference tourism destination rankings as Nairobi rose four places to position 100 according to the latest International Congress and Convention Association 2012 report.

Kenya was ranked second best conference and meetings destination in Africa after South Africa in the region but slipped two places to position 58 globally in 2012.

"The year 2011/2012 was our best with 29 conferences hosted in Kenya compared to 2010/2011 when we hosted 20 international conferences," said Kenyatta International Conference Centre's acting managing director Fred Simiyu.

Simiyu added that the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions niche within the tourism industry is the fastest growing with an average 20 per cent annual growth rate.

In the city ranking within Africa, Nairobi was position 2 after Cape Town having hosted 22 international meetings while the former hosted 38.

Out of all the top ten conference tourism destination cities in Africa, half are in South Africa while the rest besides Nairobi are, Accra, Kampala, Marrakech and Dar-es-Salaam. Mombasa and Naivasha tied at position 34 in the regional ranking of cities.

Tourism permanent secretary Ruth Solitei said Kenya's growth as a Mice destination will depend highly on infrastructure improvement, bed capacity increase as well as more convention and conference centres.

"We need more accomodation, more bed capacity, ideal transport and communication services to grow Kenya as a conference destination," said Solitei.

Already land has been set aside in Bamburi Mombasa to build a green convention centre and investors are being sought for the project set to be built within five years.

For year 2013/2014, Simiyu on his part revealed that a government backed marketing team for Kenya has already bid and secured deals for 28 conferences so far.

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