Kenya’s coastal players eye East Africa to revive conference tourism
Tourism industry stakeholders in Kenya's coastal region, one of the country's key tourist attractions, said Tuesday they are targeting the East African Community for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hasnain Noorani, chairman of the Kenya Coast Tourism Working Group, a private sector tourism marketing body for the coastal region, said the players are working on a new pricing model for the target group of an estimated 29 million middle class people in Burundi, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda to revive the sub-sector.
Kenya, together with the five nations, make up the East Africa economic bloc which launched a common market in 2010.
"We are working together with players in the local tourism and hospitality industry to develop offers that will attract regional and domestic tourists as well, as we try to help the sector recover," Noorani said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Noorani said the tourism industry is confident the strategy will reap benefits before tourists from the international markets begin to arrive when the coronavirus pandemic subsides globally.
He said the tourism sector is also shifting from offline to online to help soften the blow of COVID-19 on the MICE segment.
MICE tourism is one of the growing segments that Kenya has continued to market in line with a strategy of product diversification.
Kenya's tourism industry, which is one of the top foreign exchange earners, was severely damaged by the pandemic last year.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data showed that the East African nation received 439,487 international tourists in 2020, down from 1.54 million in 2019