In six months’ time, Kenya will show itself off to the world with an unprecedented week of tourism promotion.
During the first week of October, it will host the Africa Hotel Investment Forum, the highest-profile event of its type in Africa, attracting international investors from dozens of countries.
The event will also welcome the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo, which is the largest travel trade show in east Africa and it will announce a package of measures to incentivise investment.
Speaking at a breakfast briefing at the InterContinental Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya cabinet secretary for tourism, Najib Balala, said: “We are unveiling a new calendar of events in the tourism sector known as Kenya Tourism Festival, which will be an annual event that will add value to our tourism experiences.
“This is in line with our strategic objective of enhancing visitor experience, as well as increasing their stay in the country.
“The current traveller is keen on more experiences and options for choice, therefore, the festival seeks to meet some of those aspirations.”
Kenya’s head of state, Uhuru Kenyatta, will launch both events publicly on the morning of Wednesday, October 3rd, at a ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
After joint sessions addressing tourism to Kenya in general, the more investment-focused discussions of AHIF will move to the Radisson Blu Upper Hill, Nairobi.
On the Tuesday, there will be a programme of inspection visits so incoming travel buyers, investors and journalists can see new attractions, infrastructure development projects and investment opportunities in person.
The week’s formal activities will conclude on the Thursday evening, when outstanding examples of sustainable tourism will be recognised.
Kenya is recognised as the World’s Leading Safari Destination by the World Travel Awards.
Matthew Weihs, managing director, Bench Events, said: “You have to take your hat off to the cabinet secretary; by bringing these two events together in this way, he has created a much more compelling reason for other destinations to come to Kenya to promote themselves, as they will be able to talk to both professional tourism buyers and international hotel investors in one trip.
“Also, senior-level hoteliers and tour operators will have the opportunity to meet each other and they will see each other taking a serious interest in Kenya on inspection visits.”
AHIF is the premier hotel investment conference in Africa, attracting many prominent international hotel owners, investors, financiers, management companies and their advisers.
It is organised by Bench Events, who has a long track record of delivering multiple premium hotel investment conferences and forums across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Bench Events’ mission is enabling prosperity by facilitating growth, networking, and thought leadership in the hospitality industry worldwide.
Bettty Addero Radier, chief executive, Kenya Tourist Board, concluded: “MKTE 2018 provides an opportunity to network and explore business opportunities at the leading travel trade expo in East Africa.
“We are targeting to bring on board 120 exhibitors and 160 hosted buyers.
“There was a 44 percent growth in exhibitor numbers with 195 exhibitors last year from 136 in 2016.”