Multi-Billion State of The Art Convention Centre In Kisumu
KENYA: Kisumu City is expected to be the next attraction for conference tourism in the country after Kenyatta International Convention Centre ( KICC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the county government to construct a multi-billion state of the art convention centre similar to KICC in the area.
The MoU signed between the County Executive Member for Tourism Dr Rose Kisa and KICC Managing Director Fred Simiyu will also see KICC market tourism and investment potential in the county, training Kisumu staffs on conference tourism and funding of high level events in the area.
According to Mr Simiyu, the county’s Tourism department has been tasked with mapping out the area and documenting Meetings Incentives Conference and Exhibitions (Mice) tourism potential within the next six months so as to give the green light for the financial investment required for the projects.
Simiyu said the marketing beat is however expected to start immediately, with KICC expected to fund temporary conference infrastructure in the short term before the commencement of the massive infrastructure.
“The position of Kisumu at the heart of East African Community member states and the presence of natural resources such as Lake Victoria puts the city at an advantageous area for Mice tourism which has become the biggest tourism investment. And our work as KICC is to expose the area to the international community,” said Simiyu.
He added; “Looking at Kisumu we are strategically placed for East African Community member state conferences which have always been held in Arusha and with massive infrastructure we will be able to grab a number of them.”
With Kenya being the second largest host of Mice tourism in the continent after South Africa, Simiyu said 70 per cent of Mice investments are within the country’s capital, Nairobi, and KICC is looking into distributing the resources to other parts of the country.
Kisumu has always missed out on conference tourism due to shortage of facilities. However the city recently hosted 6, 000 participants of the second Devolution Conference, one of the biggest conferences in the lake-side city’s conference tourism, a situation which exposed the city’s ability to handle high class Mice events.
The city is also expected to host this year’s National Music Festivals in August which is expected to bring over 10, 000 participants to the city.
Kisia said opening up the city through investment in conference infrastructure will bring more people, and the human traffic is likely to open up economic opportunities in the area.
According to Kisia, the histories surrounding Kisumu makes it a place of choice for most of the international conferences which requires relevant environment for differenceMice events.
The presence of Lake Victoria makes it easier for international conferences on fisheries, marine and environment to choose the area. Kisumu being one of the areas with high Malaria prevalence rate makes the area relevant for health conferences,” said Kisia.
Governor Jack Ranguma who witnessed the signing of the MoU said the county has also been sourcing for investors to fund other related facilities to facilitate conference tourism.
“We know that hotels, transport, security and health are some of the sectors which must be up to date to attract conference tourism. We are already in talks with Australia to have the lake transport resurrected, and with Nairobi Hospital to have another modern health facility in the area. Such facilities promote human traffic to the area,” said Ranguma.
Ranguma said domestic tourism has proved to be the best earner for the county’s tourism department with 2014 survey indicating that the county’s conference tourism increased by 100 per cent.