Kenya is targeting a bigger share of revenue from Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), a lucrative part of the tourism mix across the globe.
The Cabinet Secretary, Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Peninah Malonza, says that the Government will spearhead bids to host at least 10 regional and international conventions in Kenya every year, and adds that the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, KICC, a premier event location, will play a key role in this drive.
The CS observes that the 2022 International Congress and Convention Association Destination Performance Index report reveals that Kenya ranked second in Africa as an ideal location for hosting association meetings.
The MICE sector is an important contributor to the Kenyan economy. According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the tourism sector, including MICE, contributed 8.8 percent to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product in 2019. Furthermore, the MICE sector grew by 5.5 percent in 2019, generating Sh115 billion (approximately USD 1.05 billion) in revenue.
The global MICE market, which involves travel for business-oriented purposes, was valued at USD 876.42 billion in 2022 and is expected to experience a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent from 2023 to 2030. MICE is a niche of the travel and tourism industry.
Ms Malonza explains that goal of MICE is to provide an enhanced, customised hospitality setting that brings together top professionals from various industries.
She notes that the market is benefiting from an increase in the number of companies worldwide that offer MICE services. This is contributing to the sector’s growth.
Says the CS: “Kenya aims to leverage its distinctive attributes to maintain a substantial portion of the market share in the industry. Improved destination management, with the assistance of KICC, which has been entrusted with the responsibility, can facilitate the achievement of this goal.”
Since its inception on September 11, 1973, KICC has been the preferred venue for meetings and conventions in East and Central Africa, and in fact gave birth to Kenya’s MICE industry. Through it, Kenya has hosted numerous high-profile conventions, personalities, signature events and even signed treaties and made declarations – KICC recently hosted the Africa Climate Summit that attracted more than 12,000 regional and international delegates and several heads of state, among other dignitaries.
Ms Malonza says her ministry is grateful to President William Ruto for spearheading the bid to host this important global conference in Kenya.
Such conferences and events are the surest way of raising Kenya’s profile and positioning it as a preferred destination for MICE.
The CS further notes that KICC is the only purpose-built convention centre in East Africa. KICC was designed by Norwegian architec, Karl Henrik Nostvik, in 1967.
The design structure combined the understanding of traditions, aspirations and environment of the people of Kenya with the needs of modern conference organisers in terms of space, administration and auxiliary services and requirements.
The Convention Centre and the Conference tourism sector in Kenya has undergone various milestones and memorable events have taken place at the KICC since 1973, 50 golden years later.
After its recent refurbishment, KICC is primed for bigger meetings in its next 50 years.