With an economy growing at over 5.5% annually[ii] that is ripe for investment, Kenya is attracting a great deal of local and global attention as the region's business hub. Consequently, this has spurred a significant level of growth in the country's meetings industry, where trade and business stakeholders meet to promote trade, showcase innovation, exchange knowledge, connect with communities, understand markets and engage with potential business development partners.
As a result, in 2016, Kenya hosted approximately 243 business and professional meetings, consisting of a range of conferences, summits, forums, congresses, conventions, symposiums, exhibitions and expositions. 55% of audiences in these meetings were pooled from the local market and whilst Kenya may have been the destination of choice for the remainder, a further 22% consisted of pan-African participants, another 15% of regional Eastern African associates and another 8% composed of international attendees.
The busiest meeting period was recorded between September and November, followed by the two months between May and June.
In the capital Nairobi, top venues included the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Kenya’s largest venue; the Safari Park Hotel and the Radisson Blu Hotel, that only opened its doors in late 2015. In Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city, popular spots included the Sarova Whitesands Resort and the Pride Inn Paradise Hotel as well as the Leisure Lodge Resort in Diani. Other notable nationwide venues include the Enashipai Resort in Naivasha and the Acacia Premier Hotel in Kisumu.
As far as economic sectors are concerned, the Healthcare & Pharmaceutical industries topped the meetings league, recording 42 events and comprising 14% of all meetings held in the country in 2016. Some of these included the national medical and paediatric association conferences as well as the Medic East Africa Conference & Exhibition. In second place was the Construction & Logistics industries with 38 meetings overall and making up 13% of the meetings market. These included expos like the China Trade Week and the Big 5 Construct E.A. Exhibition. In joint third place were the Technology & Innovation, Professional Business Services and Trade & Investment sectors which each recorded 35 events and individually accounting for12% of the market.