Thursday, 11 December 2014
Kenya will next year become the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to host the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference.
This is expected to yield huge benefits for tourism.
More than 6,000 delegates of the 160 member nations are expected for the event’s 10th edition.
It comes at a time when Kenya tourism is on its knees following rampant insecurity that has scared away international visitors.
The meeting will give hoteliers some respite from shrinking visitors.
It will also provide a golden opportunity for the country to market its attractions and boost its image as a holiday makers choice. Kenya took over as host after Turkey withdrew.
“In a letter to the chairman of the general council of World Trade Organisation, the Turkish Government said it stepped down in favour of Kenya following consultations with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed,” a statement from State House said Tuesday.
The decision was unanimously agreed by the organisation’s member.
BOOST COUNTRY'S IMAGE
Kenya has been lobbying to have the global trade talks held here to boost the country’s image as a continental economic powerhouse.
In October, Deputy President William Ruto travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, the headquarters of the United Nations, to lobby for support in Kenya’s bid to host the conference.
He held meetings with the World Trade Organisation director-general Roberto Azevedo, acting director general to the United Nations office Michael Møller and African Union Ambassador Jean Marie Ehouzou among others.
The World Trade Organisation is the only global international organisation dealing with the rules of trade between nations. The ministerial conference is its top decision-making organ.
It is understood that a team from the organisation visited the country to assess its capability to host the meeting.
The conference adds to a growing list of international gatherings to be held in Kenya in 2015 as the country.
In November, the Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism announced that Kenya had won the bid to host the 39th Africa Travel Association world congress next year. Kenya will also host Skal international Congress in Mombasa next year.
Skal is a professional organisation of tourism leaders from around the world. The conference is expected to bring together about 1,500 delegates from around the globe. The country will also be hosting the World Public Relations Forum.