Picture: Voyages Afriq

The Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, has on Tuesday inaugurated the National Convention Bureau (NCB) at the Ministry’s boardroom. 

This follows the recent appointment of Ms. Jacinta Nzioka as the National Coordinator of the Bureau. The National Convention Bureau is a state agency charged with promoting Kenya as a preferred destination for business events and its main purpose is to increase the number of events, conferences and meetings held in Kenya.

“As a high value sector, Business tourism is expected to grow revenues into the destination through its backward linkage to other sectors such as transport, hospitality, agriculture, financial services, among others. With the establishment of the bureau, the Ministry projects increase in international conferences, and business meetings in the future,” the CS said.

He also added that key leverage will be laid on opportunities such as the growing international hotel brands and global corporates, the UN Centre in Nairobi, Fintech innovations and infrastructural advancement in the recent past. The prevailing political environment and goodwill is requisite to growing Business Tourism.

The entity is made up of officials from the National Treasury, Tourism, Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Sports Ministries as well as the private sector, including the Kenya Private Sector Alliance, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and the Kenya Tourism Federation. The Bureau will:

a) Undertake mapping and profiling of the status of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector in Kenya
b) Develop and Implement a National Business Tourism Events strategy
c) Market and sell Kenya as a business events destination
d) Research potential domestic and international events opportunities
e) Advise and coordinate the bidding process of MICE events by public and private entities
f) Offer expert services and support in site selection process, planning and producing successful events, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions
g) Serve as the focal point for coordination of MICE activities
h) Provide leadership in expanding the economic benefits and impact of MICE tourism
i) Advise on and promote appropriate MICE tourism infrastructure for destination development
j) Coordinate collections and dissemination of relevant MICE tourism information and research, and
k) Support the development and delivery of MICE tourism or hospitality education and training programmes

According to International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) report 2018, Africa hosted 434 meeting compared to a total of 12,951 meetings recorded all over the world. This implies a paltry 3.4% share of the global MICE market. Kenya’s MICE sector (31 meetings) represents only 0.2 per cent of the global MICE market but takes a significant fourth position in Africa (after South Africa, Morocco and Egypt) based on number of international meetings held-ICCA 2018 Report.

At least 13,102 meetings are held annually in Kenya. Domestic meetings represent most meetings (49.9%) followed by Corporate/ business meetings (17.9%), Non-Governmental Organisations/Community Based Organizations meetings (10.8%) and international conferences (6.2%).
Per capita direct spending by international and domestic MICE participants for events lasting 2-5 days is estimated at Kshs 388,617 and Kshs 70 970, respectively.

Voyages Afriq