Local conferences are the lifeblood of conference tourism going by the Economic Survey 2015. The survey indicates that not only did the tourism industry depend on local conferences to survive in 2014, but also in successive years from 2012.
In 2014, there was a total of 3,077 local conferences and 241 international conferences. During the year, local delegates were 432,998 while international ones were 77,848. These numbers were also reflective in the delegate days spent in the hotel facilities. While local delegates spent 547,262 days, international delegates spent 131,193.
These low numbers of the number of conferences, number of delegates and delegate days spent also applies in the previous years.
The result of this is that the percentage occupancy is heavily skewed towards local delegates.
In 2012, the local occupancy was 9.8 while international was 3.7. In 2013, local occupancy was 9.5 while international was 3.3 while in 2014, local occupancy was 9.2 and international 2.2
The report acknowledges that
The number of local conferences and delegate days increased by 8 percent to 3.077 and 4.6 percent to 547,262 respectively in 2014. However, international conferences and delegate days dropped by 19.4 and 27.1 percent respectively over the same period.
Kenya’s conference tourism is directly proportional to the general tourism state of the country. Looking at the numbers 2012 had the best percentage occupancy in the three years. The numbers have also kept declining, suggesting that something wrong was not being corrected.
Kenya has suffered major insecurity incidences in the recent years and only this year has the security situation improved. Perhaps this could signal better days to come in the coming years.
More crucially, the need to better package local conferences needs to be emphasized so that Kenyans can better promote their own. This goes along providing affordable tourism prices to Kenyans.
The Economic Survey 2015 further authors that the months of August and October of 2014 had the best number of visitors visiting museums, snake parks and historical sites. During the months of August, there were 120,200 visitors while in October, there were 108,500. They are followed by September and July in that order.
The worst months are January with 26,200, followed by February with 27,100 and the third from behind is May with 27,700.
Hoteliers offering conference tourism should look at these numbers and see how to maximize on them when they can. Certainly January is slow for business due to the return from December festivities.