Kenya gears up for int'l tourism summit amid sector's revival

Kenya gears up for int'l tourism summit amid sector's revival

NAIROBI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua/GNA) – Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism and industry partners said on Tuesday that preparations for the 79th International Association of Travel and Tourism Professionals (SKAL) Congress to be held in the port city of Mombasa in October are complete amid optimism on the growth of the sector.

Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary for Wildlife and Tourism, said around 500 delegates will take part in the five-day summit which will become a networking platform for influential players in the global tourism and travel circuit. 

“We have been honoured to host the upcoming world congress of tourism professionals and the federal government will offer the required support to create it succeed,” Balala told reporters in Nairobi.  Kenya won the bid to host the 79th world congress of travel and tourism professionals following a stiff competition from Peru. 

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Balala noted that the country’s bid to host the prestigious congress in 2015 was lost because of terror related attacks that dented the image of resort city of Mombasa.  “The federal government has put strong measures set up to improve safety of delegates and the facelift of Mombasa city went ahead to make sure these visitors benefit from the ambience,” said Balala.  He revealed that most delegates for the Oct. 17-21 congress will shuttle from Nairobi to Mombasa via the typical Gauge Railway (SGR) commuter train as the remainder use charted flights.

Balala said the federal government is anticipating robust growth of tourism sector within the last quarter once the country hosts a variety of pursuits like Africa Hotel Investment Forum and Magic Kenya Expo. “Up to now the tourism industry does well. 

Maasai Mara hotels are fully booked as wild beasts migration gets underway. This season and desire to sustain it longer we have been targeting an 18 percent growth of the,” said Balala. He added that Kenya aims to improve the true amount of tourist arrivals annually from the existing 1.5 million to 2.5 million by 2022.