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Tourism players eye EAC market to revive sector

Local tourism and hospitality industry stakeholders are targeting the East Africa Economic block for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market with a focus on an estimated 29 million middle class people to jump-start the sector which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

Kenya Coast Tourism Working Group Chair, Mr. Hasnain Noorani said players in the sector are working on a new pricing model as existing packages are seen as too expensive for the target group which forms 22.6 per cent of the region’s employed population according to a recent report by the African Development Bank (ADB).

“We are working together with players in the local tourism and hospitality industry to develop offers that will attract regional and domestic tourists as well, as we try to help the sector recover.”

Hasnain Noorani who also the Managing Director for PrideInn Hotels said the tourism industry is confident the strategy will reap benefits before tourists from the international markets begin to arrive when Corona virus pandemic subsides globally.

“At PrideInn hotels for instant, we are having continuous product innovation, favorable pricing for the domestic market products, digitization of the MICE sector and gaining the trust of travelers through prioritizing their health and campaigns to re-assure the world that Kenya is safe,” Mr. Hasnain stated.

As with the majority of Covid-19-related adaptations, it remains to be seen whether changes in the MICE segment will remain once the health threat has subsided.

“A swift pivot to online platforms can virtually bridge some of the interactive gaps caused by restrictions on mass congregations, and should therefore help to soften the blow of Covid-19 on the MICE segment,” Said Hasnain.

Amid global travel restrictions, social-distancing protocols and prohibitions on mass gatherings, the world’s meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) segment has been forced to adapt to the pandemic, with some events shifting online and others being deferred.

Before the outbreak of the virus and the subsequent introduction of travel restrictions and social-distancing guidelines the MICE segment presented a promising growth avenue for emerging markets seeking to diversify their tourism offering.



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