Kenya turns to sports tourism to revive the sector

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NAIROBI, July 24 (Xinhua) — The Kenyan government has developed conducive policy and regulatory environment to catalyze growth of sports tourism in the light of declining visits to scenic attractions occasioned by insecurity, officials said on Thursday.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) MD Muriithi Ndegwa said at a news conference in Nairobi that sports tourism has peaked thanks to development of modern sporting facilities and publicity blitz.

“We are showcasing the country as a favorite destination for sports tourism and have developed facilities and intensified media campaigns to realize this objective,” Ndegwa said during a visit to tourist sites in northwest region.

He revealed that state agencies and sports’ federations are finalizing the development of a national policy on sports tourism.

The Kenyan government has focused on growth of different sporting activities to lure tourists. Ndegwa said that Kenya has tapped into athletics, golf, rugby and swimming to attract foreign visitors.

“Currently, we are working with counties to develop sports tourism and have been organizing fun troops to high altitude training centers to showcase our athletic prowess,” said Ndegwa, adding that good weather in the training camps located in North Rift has attracted dozens of international runners.

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“Some of the world renowned athletes have been flocking to the high altitude training camps to prepare for major races. Their presence in Kenya has elevated our standing in the global map,” Ndegwa said.

He noted that a partnership with Kenya Golf Union and Athletics Kenya will promote the country as a destination for sports tourism. He also disclosed the Treasury has pumped in 20 million U.S. dollars to develop state of the art sports facilities in counties.

“The government will tap into established and upcoming athletes to promote the country’s brand during international races,” Ndegwa told reporters.

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