Kenya has won the bid to host the Africa of Travel Association (ATA) World Congress next year, 2015.
Announcing the news during the 39th ATA Congress in Kampala Uganda, East Africa Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Phylis Kandie said the conference will spur tourism business in the country.
She said the event, which will bring together close to 500 delegates from over 20 countries across the globe, is among a number of key international conferences that the country has lined up next year, a sign of expected growth in conference tourism.
“This is definitely good news for the country as we refocus on Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibition (MICE) segment that is rapidly growing, especially in Nairobi and other major towns in the country,” said Mrs Kandie.
In addition to ATA, Kenya has also won the bid to host SKAL international Congress next year, in Mombasa. The conference will bring together about 1,500 travel and tourism professionals from around the world.
“We have also won another bid to host the World Public Relations Forum sometimes next year. All these international events are a show of confidence in the country that continues to leverage on its strategic position as the regional hub in hosting key international forums” said Mrs Kandie.
She lauded ATA for its effort in marketing Africa as a tourism destination and highlighting on the challenges that needed to be addressed by the member States for the growth of the tourism business.
Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa while delivering a paper on Marketing African destinations at the conference noted that insecurity, political instability, infrastructure and air connectivity were among the key challenges affecting Africa destination.
He said though intra-Africa tourism has prove a huge potential in growing tourism in line with market diversification, low air connectivity within the continent has dealt a blow to smooth travel.
“Movement within some of African countries from Africa, at most times require one to travel via Europe or Middle East, a major obstacle to access especially when research indicates that about 55% of global travel is by air,” said Mr Ndegwa.
He said the adoption of open sky policy, acquisition of more African carriers flying to Africa destinations and affordable air fares will reverse the current situation by improving propensity to travel.
Ebola scare dominated the one-week long ATA congress as a current major threat to the tourism business in the continent with member States rallying each other on a campaign to create awareness on foot print of Ebola epidemic.
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