2016 Kenya Meetings Industry Report

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2016 Meetings         Industry Report
Overall: 243 business & professional meetings recorded in 2016. (Meetings include conferences, summits, forums & expos).
Total Pool of Meeting Audiences: 55% Local 15% Regional i.e. Eastern Africa 22% Pan-African 8% International
Busiest periods: September - November & April - June
Top 10 Meetings by Industry
Destination Popularity
1. Health & Pharma
3a. Tech & Innovation
3b. Trade & Investment
3c. ProfessionalServices
2. Construction & Logistics
6. Hospitality & Well-being
7. Development & Sustainablility
8. Agriculture
9. Energy & Mining
10. Education
1. Nairobi (Capital)
2. Mombasa
3a. Kisumu
3b. Naivasha
4. Eldoret
5b. Nakuru
5c. Meru
Other e.g. Nyeri, Narok
5a. Nanyuki
2016 Meetings         Industry Report
This year, Kenya has possibly recorded her best performance yet in the conferences & meetings space. Following on from successfully hosting high-profile meetings such as the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and the WTO Ministerial Conference in 2015, at the World Travel Awards held earlier this year, Kenya’s capital Nairobi was recognised as the leading African meeting and conference destination. In the 2016 International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) world rankings[i], Kenya ranked as the second most popular meeting destination in Sub-Saharan Africa (and fourth in Africa overall), having hosted 19 international association meetings in 2015. Kenya continued to host even more global gatherings this year, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD14), the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICADVI) and most recently, the Global Partnership on Effective Development Co-operation’s High-Level Meeting (HLM2).
UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi speaking during the UNCTAD14 Conference earlier this year.(Photo credit: The Star)
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.
Events within these sectors included East Africa Com, the Connected Summit, Payments East Africa, Sankalp Forum and the East African Business and Entrepreneurship Conference & Exhibition. Other notable meetings through the year included the 3rd Devolution Conference, the inaugural Kenya Mining Forum, and Kenya Manufacturing Summit & Expo, the African Green Revolution Forum, the Power & Energy Africa Expo, the E.A. Power Industry Convention, the Aidex Africa Conference, the Nairobi Innovation Week, and the Magical Kenya Travel Expo. The complete meetings-by-industry picture is as follows:
INDUSTRY GROUPING Healthcare & Pharmaceutical Construction & Logistics Technology & Innovation Trade & Investment Professional Business Services Hospitality & Well-being Development & Sustainability Agriculture Energy & Mining Education & Research TOTAL
NO. OF MEETINGS 42 38 36 35 35 29 28 22 17 16 298
%AGE OF TOTAL 14% 13% 12% 12% 12% 10% 9% 7% 6% 5% 100%
*Please note more meetings than the total held of 243 are noted here as meetings commonly target more than one economic sector.
2017 & Beyond Kenya provides an excellent opportunity for global stakeholders to engage with a growing regional market via alternative meeting and destination experiences. In 2015, conference travel accounted for 27.5% of all tourism earnings and the Tourism Ministry has now put it high on its agenda, having recently appointed a task-force to engage the private sector in the formation of a National Convention Bureau. The Ministry also plans to refurbish and expand the KICC, as well as commission feasibility assessments for new venues in Nairobi and Mombasa. The government has also invested heavily in security, particularly in the development of new crisis management and tourist protection agencies. Confidence in the destination has since been restored, resulting in the lifting of several of the travel advisories imposed upon security attacks in previous years. Kenya has even gone further to re-win the bid to host the Skal World Congress in Mombasa in 2018, after the same conference was suddenly cancelled in 2015. In the latest Doing Business report[iii], Kenya climbed up 21 places to an overall position 92. On measures particularly addressing supplier contract management concerns, Kenya ranks even better at 87 overall. The government has also digitalised visa processes and continues to invest in infrastructure. Several new hotels, inclusive of international brands have also recently opened in the country, with further construction still in the pipeline. Kenya has demonstrated she is taking the necessary steps to increase her destination competitiveness and realise her conference tourism potential in full. South Africa, for example, ranked the top African meeting destination in the latest ICCA statistics, hosted 89 more qualifying meetings than Kenya did in the same period. Nevertheless, the growing industry has attracted many new local and international entrants, which while creating choice and value for potential attendees, will undoubtedly fuel stiffer competition amongst market players as we go into 2017 and beyond.
Methodology Currently, there are few reports that analyse the growing Kenyan meetings market and this reports hopes to have gone some way in addressing this gap. To be included in this report, conferences had to have a minimum target of 250 attendees, while exhibitions had to have a minimum of 50 exhibiting participants, with all meetings lasting a minimum of two full days.
This report contains proprietary information and may not be reproduced in whole or part without the prior written consent of Mkutano Business Travel. It incorporates data from sources we believe to be reliable, but we make no representation as to the accuracy and/or completeness of this. The report is provided for information purposes only and the opinions/analyses contained in it are those of Mkutano Business Travel. Mkutano Business Travel is the leading conferences & trade events bureau in Eastern Africa. Questions? Get in touch at  [email protected]
End Notes i. International  Congress & Convention Association, NL (2016). ICCA Statistics Report - Public Abstract. ii. Trading Economics, USA (2016). Kenya GDP Annual Growth Rate. iii. The  World Bank Group, USA(2016). Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity For All.