First Downturn in Years for Kenya MICE Tourism

Published on : Friday, May 2, 2014

South-AfricanAfter a constant growth for several years, the subsector contract fell by 4.5 percent in 2013. Details published in Kenya’s Economic Survey 2014 suggest that the MICE tourism sector, which brings in meetings, incentive group travel, conferences, and exhibitions, also fell victim last year to the general downturn in tourism fortunes.


The figure of such MICE events in 2010 stood at 2,783, rising to 3,304 in 2011 while reaching a record number of 3,666 in 2012, before sliding back in 2013 to levels below the 2011 mark with only 3,148 such events registered.
In past years, Kenya had progressively improved its rankings in Africa as a ideal MICE destination and was only ever beaten at the top spot by South Africa, with in particular Nairobi seen as a much in-demand location where delegates and conference participants could in pre- or post-conference tours enjoy the safari parks or laze about the fabulous beaches of Diani or Watamu.
Industry observers blamed the turn down to broadly the same factors, which had led to a slide in fortunes for tourism in general. Although added that the lack of a national convention Centre at the coast – proposals have long been made to build a first-class facility at Mombasa’s north coast Bamburi area – and at other upcountry locations like Kisumu that have had an impact, too.
The Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, need of a major reconstruction to equip it with state-of-the-art facilities. Of course, several hotels have their own conference centers, but those are smaller and not geared to the large numbers only KICC can presently manage.


MICE business is very important because of the higher revenues generated. However, especially the business travel sector has been hit but changed views and this is something our marketing people have to face up to. MICE tourism is in need of a big bang sales and marketing drive.





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