As business tourism becomes popular around the world, countries are now working to package most of their other attractions to this new trend to attract the mostly young business travelers. The younger business travelers and entrepreneurs enjoy combining their business travels with leisure.
In East Africa, there is stiff competition between Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda. Kenya has one of the biggest conference centers in the region, Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC). Kenya has also been marketing itself for this by packaging it with other attractions like the Nairobi National Park, David Sheldrick Elephant sanctuary, Giraffe Centre all in Nairobi. Business travelers have also been encouraged to visit other attractions outside of Nairobi including the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve, Amboseli National Reserve, Tsavo National Park, Lake Naivasha, Shaba National Reserve among others. It’s been evident in recent years that this marketing has worked as most international conferences have been held in Nairobi. Nairobi also has the advantage of having a UN headquarters, UNEP and other global organisations have their headquarters in Nairobi.
Tanzania is also emerging as the region’s leader in the rapidly growing meetings, conferences and events industry. Tanzania’s growth within the business tourism sector has been driven by growing international recognition of a tourism industry second to none in terms of diversity and quality of experiences. Tanzania has two major conference facilities, Arusha International Conference Centre in Arusha and Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre in Dar es Salaam. Other attractions in Tanzania include Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater, Indian Ocean islands including Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia.
Rwanda has built one of the finest international conference facilities, The Kigali Convention Centre, which was opened in 2016. Kigali, unlike other cities in the region is the most organised and cleanest. Other attractions in Rwanda include Gorilla Trekking in Virunga Mountain Range, there’s also the Akagera and Nyungwe National Parks, Lake Kivu and there is also the Kigali Genocide Memorial for those who’d like some history in the unfortunate events in Rwanda in the mid 1990s.
The region offers some of the world’s best experiences for travelers. The region is the world leader in terms of safari experiences with its national parks and reserves, the Rift Valley, the beautiful warm climate, a beautiful coastline, highlands, plains, mountains, and the now developing connectivity and infrastructure.
There has also been good developments in the region’s air travel with the Air Tanzania, Uganda Airlines coming back to life. Kenya Airways has been the region’s properly operating airline. There are also several budget airlines within the region that are now operating inter-country, making travel easier and more affordable.
Barriers that are still limiting the growth of this industry is the travel restrictions, cost of traveling and Visa regulations by most African countries.