NAIROBI, Feb. 2 — Kenya’s tourism marketers said Tuesday they will leverage hosting golf tournaments in 2021 to promote the destination to local and international audiences.
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said the Safari Tour golf tournament is currently ongoing in Mombasa with upcoming events set to be held in Nairobi culminating in the Magical Kenya Open which will be held in March.
KTB said it’s supporting the tournament series through the Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) which in turn provides an opportunity to market the destination.
“Our role is to inspire the world to visit Kenya, and as such we remain committed to supporting local and international sports events such as the Safari Tour and the Magical Kenya Open Championship among others that provide exposure to the destination,” KTB CEO Betty Radier said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Radier expressed a commitment to support golf in the country as it provides an opportunity to showcase Kenya as a golf destination and a preferred tourist destination, adding that it will be important in reopening the destination.
Sports tourism is one of Kenya’s product diversification strategies, besides the traditional products such as beach and wildlife, which have been the traditional offerings that the country has over the years been using to attract tourists into the country.
Tourism is the third-largest source of foreign exchange revenue for Kenya after tea and horticulture, with the main tourist attractions being photo safaris through 19 national parks and game reserves, though the country has been diversifying to other areas like eco-tourism, conference tourism, and cultural tourism.
Radier added that with the destination looking to bounce back, such events will be crucial in showcasing the destination and creating confidence in potential visitors going forward.
“It is sad that COVID-19 robbed us of the opportunities for showcasing the destination in 2020 which was scheduled to host major sporting events in the country. These are the kinds of opportunities that play a lead role in bringing people to the destination and attract eyeballs,” she said.
“We are however grateful that we are able to have the Safari tour this year which will culminate into the Magical Kenya Open which is now part of the European tour. These events will play a role in the revival of tourism through instilling traveler confidence and showcasing our preparedness,” Radier added.
Golf continues to be an important sport that has been key in promoting Kenya as a tourist destination both locally and internationally by keeping audiences engaged.
The Magical Kenya Open in particular has been key in raising Kenya’s profile as a golfing destination to the international scene.
The Magical Kenya Open (MKO) Golf Championships is scheduled to take place on March 18-21 after having been postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raider said the event which was elevated to the elite European Tour provides an opportunity to showcase the destination to Kenya’s key source markets by leveraging on its wide viewership.
The 2020 MKO event will not have spectators which will be different from the previous tournaments due to the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease.