Kenya banks on conferences, events to grow tourism revenues

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NAIROBI, April 5 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has domesticated global best practices to become a hub for conferences and events amid quest to expand tourism revenues in the face of competition from other African markets, officials said on Thursday.

Keziah Odemba, director of tourism in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, said the government will leverage on regulatory incentives, marketing, capacity development and technology to host major conferences and exhibitions.

"As a government, we are committed to develop proper regulations to spur growth of conferencing and events industry as we diversify the tourism sector to generate higher returns," said Odemba.

She made the remarks during an event to mark Global Meetings Industry Day that was attended by policymakers, investors in the tourism sector and researchers.

Kenya hosted the Global Meetings Industry for the first time since its launch on 2016 amid call by tourism stakeholders for concerted efforts to stimulate growth of meetings, events and conference (MICE) sub-sector that is a critical source of revenue and jobs.

Jonah Orumoi, managing director of Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC), said that Kenya is well placed to develop a vibrant conference and events industry thanks to investments in supportive infrastructure, political stability and strategic location.

"The events and conference industry space has potential for growth in the country due to presence of modern convention centers, enhanced security, upgraded transport infrastructure and high speed internet connection," said Orumoi.

He said that Kenyan officials have conducted benchmarking tours in Rwanda and South Africa where conference tourism is vibrant to help replicate similar success at home.

Kezy Mukiri, chief executive officer of Nairobi based events Company Zuri Events, said that said that robust public private partnerships are key to promote Kenya as an attractive destination for conferences, exhibitions and road shows.

"We need to create platforms to foster engagement on how to improve the conference and events industries whose impact to the economy are huge," said Mukiri. Enditem

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