Kenyan sector growing immensely despite 2017 being an election year

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– Kenya’s political scene is on high gear, especially now after the announcement of the NASA Coalition power sharing deal

– Election years are known for slowing down the economy due to uncertainties by investors and key stakeholders

– A large number of high level strategy meetings are being held across the country

Since the visit by former US President Barack Obama and the Pope last year, Kenya has evolved into a top destination not only for tourists, but also high level conferences that have been happening almost back to back.

Being an election year, 2017 has presented even bigger opportunities for the hospitality industry as politicians and business people go to hold their secret consultative and strategic planning meetings with their teams, as well as meet with other stakeholders.

This year, Nairobi was named the leading African meetings and conference destination at the World Travel Awards. And in last year’s International Congress and Convention Association world rankings, Kenya was named the second-most popular meetings destination in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa.

The conferences attended by top level international delegates have raised the country’s profile in the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) sector.

Many hotels have diversified to domestic and regional conference tourism in the wake of falling international visitors, enjoying brisk business since the beginning of this year. The country has been receiving huge numbers of local and regional guests, with occupancy averaging 78 per cent since January, compared with 60 per cent in the same period last year.

A large number of visitors from neighboring Tanzania, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda have been trickling into the country, increasing the benefits derived from corporate meetings.

“Ethiopia is a lucrative market for us as it has a population of more than 80 million,” said Mr. Mohammed Hersi. “Also, about 30 per cent of the visitors are from Europe, as well as expatriates.”

On average, hotels are recording 70-75 per cent occupancy, which is a huge boost for business. Other hotels in the country are recording up to 92 percent occupancy thanks to conferences, with guest numbers averaging 80 per cent this month, compared with 50 per cent the same month last year.

Guests who come in for the conferences are attracted by such key items as proper accommodation, well equipped meeting rooms, high speed WiFi functionality, and audiovisual services and equipment for state of the art presentations.

“Professional and instinctive service makes for memorable functions,” says a manager from the Convent International Guest House located in the leafy suburb of Lavington. “Our conferencing facilities accommodate up to 100 people, and we provide free wireless and cabled web connection, with drinks and catering for the entire duration as well as secure parking.”

Following a tourism downturn in 2014, the hoteliers diversified to conference tourism, after which business improved significantly, and has been paying off, owing to a combination of leisure and convention products.

They expect a record 80 percent occupancy next month, which will be boosted by local and regional conferences such as the upcoming Sustainable Properties Africa Conference and Exhibition (SPACE) in June.

Convent International Guest House, one of Kenya’s leading boutique hotels, offers state of the art standard and executive rooms.

The executive rooms are more spacious with special amenities such as a mini bar, microwave and electric kettle, lounge area, and turn down service.

The hotel prides itself in providing comfort, convenience, excellence in service in a quiet and serene environment and guests enjoy panoramic view of the lush-green garden.

The hotel promises its guests – whether for business or leisure – a time of relaxation and unique dining in a serene environment away from the hustle and bustle of city life.


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