Exploit sports tourism

What you need to know:

Kipchoge also holds the titles of Olympic champion and the first man to run a sub-two-hour marathon.

On Thursday, organisers of the London Marathon announced that this year’s race on October 4 will feature elite runners only to guard against the spread of coronavirus.

The estimated 45,000 runners that usually pound the streets of the English capital, many for charity, during the annual marathon will now have to wait for next year for a mass race.

This means the global focus will be trained on Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei, world marathon record holders in the men’s and women’s divisions, who will be defending their respective titles.

It also means television audiences globally could hit an all-time high since no spectators will be allowed on the course.This presents an excellent opportunity for Kenya’s tourism authorities to market the country as a preferred tourism and trade destination through the eyeballs our athletes will attract.

It was, therefore, timely that the Ministry of Tourism and Kenya Tourism Board named Kipchoge as Kenya’s “destination ambassador” to help market the country’s tourism potential. Kipchoge also holds the titles of Olympic champion and the first man to run a sub-two-hour marathon.

That Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala roped in Kipchoge for a viewing of the wildebeest migration at the Maasai Mara this weekend was also a great, timely call.We can’t belabour the fact that sports tourism is an exciting offering that Kenya needs to cash in on as we slowly wriggle out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We hope the government will also cash in on other major sports events that Kenya will host, most significantly next month’s Kip Keino Classic athletics meeting and the Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship in November.