Local tourism and hospitality industry stakeholders are targeting the East Africa Economic block for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market. This is with a focus on an estimated 29 million middle class people to revive the sector which has been severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions.

Kenya Coast Tourism Working Group Chair, Mr. Hasnain Noorani said that changes on the pricing model and existing packages will influence a higher uptake by the middle class. “We are working together with players in the local tourism and hospitality industry to develop offers that will attract regional and domestic tourists as well, as we try to help the sector recover,” he added.

Hasnain Noorani who is also the Managing Director for PrideInn Hotels, said the tourism industry is confident the strategy will reap benefits before tourists from the international markets begin to trickle in to the region. “At PrideInn hotels for instance, we are having continuous product innovation, favorable pricing for the domestic market products, digitization of the MICE sector and gaining the trust of travelers through prioritizing their health and campaigns to re-assure the world that Kenya is safe,” Mr. Hasnain stated.

Due to global travel restrictions, social-distancing protocols and prohibitions on mass gatherings, the world’s MICE segment has been forced to adapt to the pandemic, with some events shifting online and others being deferred.

Before the outbreak of the virus and the subsequent introduction of travel restrictions and social-distancing guidelines, the MICE segment presented a promising growth avenue for emerging markets in East Africa.