Published on : Monday, February 27, 2017
In order to combat dwindling fortunes in the multi-billion-shilling tourism industry, stakeholders now want immediate steps to be taken for tapping into the largely unexploited sports tourism segment. Interviews with many important industry players showed the growing interest by industry players in the new area. According to WTM, sports tourism generates around $600 billion (Sh61 trillion) a year.
More and more countries are becoming increasingly dependent on sports tourism and believe it to be a trustworthy way to recover from the effects of recession. As per the UNWTO data, the sports tourism sector is the fast growing segment. In Kenya, athletes from Europe, Asia and the United States visit come for training purposes. In recent years, the country has hosted global sport stars, including Usain Bolt and world tennis star Serena Williams in 2010.
Ms Lydia Dentewo, the Group General Manager Lake Bogoria Spa Resorts said that Kenya has world-class attractions for sports tourism with first-rate training facilities for athletes. To quote Dentewo, “Sports tourism, if well tapped and harnessed, could offer the much-desired route to industry recovery efforts. We have areas in the Rift Valley like Iten for high altitude training and the Kenyan Coast which are endowed with world-class facilities like stadiums to attract legions of athletes from around the world.” Ms Dentewo noted that some extreme sports such as paragliding and skydiving are suited to the Coast region and the expansive Rift Valley. Mohamed Hersi, Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) chairman said that the Coast region could benefit from laying out modern facilities.