Government’s efforts to upgrade facilities at the Bomas of Kenya will boost the number of local and international tourists using the facility.
Bomas of Kenya will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with the launch of a revamped cultural and conference facility dubbed Baraza Hall. The hall has a seating capacity for 950 delegates. This will increase the seating capacity of its conference facilities to about 5,500.
This will make Bomas of Kenya one of the largest modern international convention and exhibition centres in the region.
Bomas of Kenya was launched in 1971 with a sole purpose of preserving, maintaining, educating and promoting the diverse cultures of various ethnic groups in Kenya and is regarded as a national heritage for prosperity and posterity.
“As we celebrate 50 years since inception in October 1971, there is an urgent need to invest in cultural tourism as a country because culture is a unique selling point in modern global tourism,” said Peter Gitaa, Bomasa of Kenya chief executive officer.
He added: “As we modernise our conferencing and exhibition facilities, it gives us room for an innovative approach to cultural preservation and use of digital technology that will attract more local and international tourists whose numbers have drastically dropped due to Covid-19 pandemic.”
He called for more strategic partnerships to boost the hospitality and tourism sectors which have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the latest economic survey report, Kenya is the third largest travel and tourism destination in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria. Tourism sector accounts for over four per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.
Prior to the global pandemic, Kenya received more than two million tourists annually mainly from the US, United Kingdom (UK), India, China, Germany, France and Italy.
Statistics from the Ministry of Tourism indicates that foreign tourists numbers dropped by two thirds last year, hitting less than 500,000 visitors in the first 10 months of 2020 translating to more than Sh100 billion revenue loss.
Bomas of Kenya receives about 5,000 international visitors annually and with its modernised facilities, it is set to attract more visitors as the world battles the pandemic with many countries across the globe stepping up vaccination campaigns.
Mr Gitaa exuded confidence and was optimistic that with the current growing interest in cultural heritage globally, growth in cultural tourism will spur economic development while preserving cultural resources.
“We’re now re-positioning ourselves to take off after 50 years of existence by injecting new impetus in the hospitality and tourism sectors in the post Covid-19 phase,” offered Mr Gitaa.