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Nairobi, KICC emerge top at World Travel Awards

Nairobi has been named Africa’s leading business travel destination at this year’s World Travel Awards (WTA).

Similarly, the Kenya International Convention Center (KICC) was awarded Africa’s leading meetings and conferences destination for the second year in a row at the year’s 27th annual WTA.

The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony during the inaugural Africa Winners Day, with players in the travel, hospitality and tourism sectors celebrated.

Ms Nana Gecaga, KICC chief executive, expressed her gratitude to Kenya’s Tourism stakeholders and staff of KICC for the efforts and support they have accorded the industry to receive such prestigious accolades.

“We are glad to get such great recognition two years in a row. The honors are once again an indication of great and unwavering efforts by the Kenyan Tourism Sector to position the country as a preferred destination for business events,” said Ms Gecaga.

This is the third time Nairobi has been named Africa’s Leading Meetings and Conference Destination having taken the award in 2016 and 2019.

The convention center beat various nominees in the category, including the Cairo Convention Center in Egypt; Kigali Convention Center in Rwanda; Palais Des Congress Marrakech in Morocco and the Sandton Convention Center, the Cape Town Convention Center and the Durban Convention Center, all in South Africa.

KICC had last year won the bid to host the 2020 Africa and Indian Ocean Gala ceremony which had been scheduled for October 2020 but due to Covid-19, the event was postponed to next year.

“We continue to pray for Kenya and her people at large and applaud the Kenyan government and Kenyans for their continued efforts to uphold all government directives on Covid-19 protocols and by ensuring our people and the country remain safe,” added Ms Gecaga.

This was the second time KICC participated in the awards and managed to retain it after taking it from Durban, which had held it for the last nine years.

The trophy haul comes at a time when the tourism industry is reeling from the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns and restrictions onlocal and international travel have led several hotels and travel industry players to lose revenues and many even close shop.

The dire situation has forced business-owners to restructure, with numerous lay-offs, forced leaves and redundancies reported.

KICC, the parastatal mandated to market Kenya’s conference tourism globally, has over the years worked towards ensuring that Kenya retains its position as the most preferred destination for Business events in Africa.