KNCB National Coordinator and CEO Ms Jacinta Nzioka. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The Kenya National Convention Bureau (KNCB) has reported improvement in the country’s profile as a Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) destination owing to sustainable and legacy meetings industry.

KNCB National Coordinator and CEO Ms Jacinta Nzioka said conferencing facilities have greatly improved with cities and major towns such as Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu and Eldoret now having more establishments.

Their conferencing facilities now match the needs of the MICE business market.

Latest report on tourism trends showed that holiday trips lead the pack with 226,168 international victors representing 34 per cent  of all arrivals.

Those coming for business and MICE increased to 178,799 or 27 per cent  of the total arrivals, which analysts say is a boost to tourism.

With Nairobi being ranked number one by the World Travel Awards (WTA), Kenya has hosted various international conferences in the recent past – showcasing its capability to host high-end events.

Ms Nzioka said brand ‘MeetInKenya’ has been buoyed by the nation’s membership to regional economic blocs coupled with its strategic geographic location.

The country is a gateway to East Africa with over 135 million people and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) market with over 450 million people.

Kenya is also a beneficiary of several preferential trade arrangements such as the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa) and the new Africa Caribbean and Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) as well as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that gives duty free access to the EU among others.

Ms Nzioka said in a statement that the State is working with other key industry stakeholders to improve conferencing opportunities.

“From a global perspective, health and hygiene continues to be at the forefront of travellers concern, so we continue to implement the latest suggestions provided by healthcare leaders, such as the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organisation, which has seen higher guest confidence,” she said.

‘’There has been a huge growth noted within the local MICE sector, in line with the Ministry of Tourism’s change in policy that has allowed the sector to drive and sustain local events and meetings that have supported the recovery in the last 24 months.” She said such events include The Magical Kenya Open Golf tournament, WRC Safari Rally Kenya among others.

These have seen local investors sustain the MICE sector and in turn attracting global tourists on a short-term, mid-term and long-term basis.

Kenya recently hosted events such as the Fourth Africa Labour Law Society Conference, AGRF 2021 Summit, Jumuiya Agribusiness and Blue Economy Investment Conference 2021, The Magical Kenya Golf Tour, Africa Health Business Symposium Africa Tech Summit among others.