A growing importance of conference tourism

With businesses becoming more international every year, we have started experiencing a phenomenon of business travelers moving for conferences, not only within the country but very often internationally. This phenomenon, called conference tourism, is quickly becoming a huge part of business. Conference tourism revolves around service provision to business travelers attending seminars, workshops, conferences and conventions. It is the largest and fastest growing segment of the modern tourism sector. It has a higher financial impact because business travelers spend more than their leisure counterparts. Often, their expenses are paid by the organisations they represent, leaving the tourists with substantial disposable incomes to spend. With the rehabilitation of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in 2004, it has played a crucial role in the business as it hosts many international meetings. It has been re-admitted to the prestigious International Congress and Convention Centre and this has helped raise the number of international conferences. Rapid modernization and aggressive marketing has made KICC the nectar that attracts bees to the honey that is Kenya’s tourism. Other conference facilities include the UN office in Nairobi and many other hotels and resorts throughout the country. They offer corporate rates and discounts and have modern and efficient business centres equipped with computers, telecommunication and Internet services. One of the key ingredients for any successful conference is location. Kenya offers something new for conference planners and organisers. Many top class hotels, safari lodges, beach resorts, and even tented bush camps offer world-class facilities, which include halls and private meeting rooms, audio-visual and multimedia services and telecommunications. The facilities combined with comfortable surroundings, good accommodation and fine cuisine, mean that professional and effective conferences could be held even in the wild. Kenya is currently rated as the second most preferred conference and business tourism destination in Africa after South Africa, according to the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) best performing destinations in Africa. The improved position is as a result of the increasing number of international association meetings that Kenya has hosted. In 2015, there was the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 which drew delegates from all over the world and this was quickly followed by the 10th World Trade Organization ministerial conference just after the Papal visit. This growth can also be attributed to the desire to continue extending impeccable service and providing international standards in the scope of conferencing tourism to even more delegates from around the world.

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