Security was on Wednesday beefed up in Mombasa as the 79th Skål International Conference started at Pride Inn Paradise Beach Hotel.
At the hotel’s entrance, security officers used sniffer dogs as they searched delegates. Skål is a professional organisation of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism.
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Kisauni Deputy County Commissioner Kipchumba Rutto, who led a team of high-level security officers at the hotel, said everything was set for the four-day conference. “We have put up elaborative measures in ensuring the security of the guests. We are expecting about 500 delegates, but the number might even be bigger than that since there are other exhibitors who will also be here, ” he said.
He added: “We are not leaving anything to chance and we want to assure the visitors they are safe. A number of officers from the multi-agency team have been deployed in all the areas where the visitors will be attending the conference and also where they will stay,” he said.
The hotel’s managing director Hasnain Nooran said the conference will open up more opportunities for tourism in Mombasa. “It’s going to be an exciting week and these arrivals will definitely change and give Mombasa the status of the best holiday destination in the country. We are very happy about this, ” he said.
Mr Nooran said all the hotels room had been booked, saying other hotels in the area will also benefit from the conference. “Some of the guests have been booked to other hotels, signalling the positive impact this conference has on the tourism sector, ” he added.
Skål International congress President Susanna Saari said the event will be a game changer for Mombasa’s tourism.
A delegate from Croatia said she was looking forward to an enjoyable stay. “It is my first time in Kenya and it’s interesting to be here,” she said.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala are expected to address the delegates later in the evening.
The expected delegates include key tourism decision makers, owners of businesses, hotels, cruise ships, travel agencies and tour companies.