Kenya hosted 243 global and continental meetings in 2016 that attracted multi-billionaires and many heads of State and government.
According to a just-released report by conference marketing and consultancy firm, Mkutano Business Travel, the mainly State-led foreign visits helped the country market itself as a tourism and business destination.
The firm’s business development executive, Ms Angela Mumbi, said visiting presidents signed trade pacts that boosted inter-country business among private sector players, with some nations seeking the establishment of embassies in Nairobi to handle emerging challenges.
Ms Mumbi said Kenya’s active promotion of an expanded East African Community that enjoys free movement of goods, people and services, as well as capital made it a popular hub for foreign companies seeking a free trade area status for their regional operations targeting 150 million people.
“Heads of State came visiting and this gave Kenya a free marketing tool to reach television audiences in Israel, Jordan, India, South Africa, Japan, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Rwanda and Central African Republic, among others,” said Ms Mumbi.
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The report, which looks at Kenya as a global conference brand, identified Nairobi as a leading destination followed by Mombasa and Kisumu.
Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Safari Park and Radisson Blu were the most popular destinations in Nairobi, while in Mombasa, Sarova White Sands and Paradise Hotel emerged top, with Enashipai (Naivasha) and Kisumu’s Acacia Premier identified as the upcountry favourites.
Kenya hosted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), the Global Partnership on Effective Development Co-operation’s High-Level Meeting and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Assemblies Association, bringing together parliamentarians from 79 countries.
“Kenya’s expanding economy has attracted an array of investors who bring in trade delegations to conduct hands-on interrogations and eventually hold strategic meetings,” Ms Mumbi said.