Kenya — Plans to build a multimillion conference center in Mombasa have edged higher as the Tourism Finance Corporation seeks investors to build the conference facility.
The corporation has invited over 300 local and international investors in Mombasa at the end of April with intentions of getting buy-in for the proposed conference centre among other projects.
Speaking to Capital FM Business, Tourism Finance Corporation Managing Director Orumoi Jonah says the project, which will be built on a four-acre piece of land near the coastline, is meant to attract more tourists to the coastal region and effectively feed the hotels.
Mombasa is a strategic location as international delegates can spend their free time sampling the beaches or touring national parks and game reserves.
Nairobi has for long been the country’s conferencing hub with its industry revolving around the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, which has become East Africa’s top conferencing hub, and the Gigiri-based UN headquarters.
Jonah says the corporation is also going on a massive campaign throughout the country promoting tourism investment opportunities in different regions in a bid to shift reliance from few regions in the country and deliver revenues from broad sources.
“We have about Sh800 million at our disposal to lend to investors in the tourism sector but we have proposals of about Sh5 billion, that is why we need to work with the private sector so that they can make investments and get returns,” he stated.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2016 survey shows the tourism sector was the most improved with a rebound in activities of accommodation and food services which expanded by 12.1 percent in the period under review compared to a contraction of 11.4 percent during the same quarter in 2015.
The sector had experienced a two-year spell of poor performance largely occasioned by security concerns and economic downturn in some key tourist markets.
The number of tourist arrivals at major airports increased from 231,038 in the first quarter of 2015 to 261,404 in the quarter under review attributable to mitigation measures that were instituted to boost tourist arrivals.