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Sports tourism: insights on its possible contribution to social development in Kenya

Author: Gabriel Tito Tabona
Copyrights: Tito

Sports tourism: insights on its possible contribution to social development in Kenya

As a fast growing industry within the hospitality industry, sports tourism can be harnessed to achieve social development goals.

30 years after Kenya hosted the All African Games, the country is gearing up to welcome the world in two mega events. In July 2017, the East African country boasting a population of over 40 million people will hold the last ever IAAF age group event, the World Youth Championships at the Safaricom Stadium, Kasarani. In January 2018, the Football Kenya Federation is expected to lead the nation in organising the African Cup of Nations Championships (CHAN), the second tier continental football showpiece exclusively meant for football players plying their trade in their respective domestic leagues.

The two sporting showpiece will be organised on the backdrop of Rough guide magazine ranking Nairobi as the third best 2017 travel destination in the world.
Kenya has long been regarded as popular tourist hotspot due to its amazing features, from being the only country in the world to be endowed with a game park in its capital city to having eye catching tourist sites in the coastal region.

With the two sporting events drawing near, one would be tempted to ask how the Kenya Tourism Board intends to promote sports tourism sector. The hospitality industry stands to gain massively from the inflow of foreign exchange with the athletes, its officials and spectators flooding the country to witness the respective events.

Besides the expected growth in gross domestic product, local firms could benefit greatly by adopting and maintaining community sports facilities, which in turn will act as catalysts to nurturing talents as well as spearheading entrepreneurial training. With different countries expected to grace the two occasions, the realities on the ground is that there is a likelihood of cultural exchange programmes being initiated between different social good organisations that will be involved in such events. This will promote the two Olympic values of friendship and respect in the long run.

Through strategic partnerships, Kenya Tourism Board together with the federations designated to run the events, can work on programmes which seeks to encourage sports tourism with youth development in mind. Such programmes could involve economic empowerment training focused purposely on sports. Sports marketing campaigns as well as waste management opportunities during and after the event specifically meant for the youth.

In real essence, the World Youth Championships and the African Cup of Nations Championships will play a pivotal role in popularizing sports tourism in a way that supports social development.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]

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Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 11:31