Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) is celebrating 45 years since it was officially opened in 1973 becoming Nairobi’s landmark and the country as a whole.
The 28-storey building was for years the tallest building in the region attracting people from all walks of life to marvel at the architecture and the statue of the country’s founding father, Mzee Kenyatta that sits on the courtyard. At 45-years, KICC’s history is intertwined with the country’s history and has hosted various conferences.
Speaking during an event at the building’s rooftop to commemorate 45 years, KICC Chief Executive Officer Nana Gecaga thanked the various stakeholders, especially the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, for the support to ensure Nairobi is a major conferencing destination.
“At 45-years KICC has remained a major icon for Nairobi and Kenya as a whole. KICC contributes to the economy of Nairobi and Kenya through the ripple effect of conference tourism. This is also a venue that holds many fond memories for Kenyans and even international tourists including the Safari Rally, Schools’ drama festivals and even photos taken touching the iconic building. Therefore, these celebrations are not only about us but for the country as a whole,” said Ms Gecaga.
She added that KICC is looking to partner with organisers of some key events being booked at the centre to extend the 45th birthday celebrations for the next 12 months. Details of the same will be announced later.
KICC has hosted high profile international conference over the years with The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) and the 2nd High Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for effective Development Co-operation (HLM2) being some of the most recent.
KICC has embarked on an upgrade of its meeting rooms to increase its competitiveness in the region as well as an aggressive marketing drive both locally and internationally to ensure that the country wins bids to host major conferences.
“We are looking at enhancing delegates’ experience through the upgrade as well as increasing the Centre’s capacity. We are also working through strategic partnerships with both the county and national governments to enhance the tourists experience including the introduction of city bus tours and the Nairobi National Park as well as other partnerships with hotels and restaurants among other establishments,” said Ms Gecaga.
KICC is set to host many high-profile conferences including the 14th African Dairy Conference in August, 6th Africa Higher E*******n Week & Reform Biennial Conference in October and The First Global Conference on Sustainable Blue Economy in November.
Conference tourism is the largest and fastest growing segment of the modern tourism sector and KICC is playing a key role in raising the number of international conferences the country gets to host. Conference tourism is believed to have a higher financial impact because business travelers tend to spend more than their leisure counterparts. Experts believe this to be the case given that most of business travellers’ expenses are paid by theorganisations they represent, leaving them with substantial disposable income to spend.
The recent naming of KICC CEO as the Deputy Chairperson of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) –African Chapter for a two-year term, will see Kenya work with other countries in the region to position Africa as a prime business conferencing destination and showcase the potential of the continent to host big events. Key for the CEO is to showcase Kenya’s capability to host large conference and events.
Today, KICC can host up to over 7,000 and 10,000 delegates indoor and outdoor respectively. The courtyard and COMESA ground gives it extra capacity to host major events and exhibitions.