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Kenya through the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) will collaborate with Jamaica to strengthen the conference tourism sectors in both countries.

This comes after a recent meeting between the Jamaican Minister for Tourism Edmund Bartlett and the KICC Chief Executive Officer Ms Nana Gecaga, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

The two discussed opportunities for the two destinations to fully exploit their conference tourism potential, position their agenda globally, as well as an opportunity to undertake exchange programmes among other potential synergies.

They agreed to support each other in the bidding process to host international conventions in their destinations.

‘‘There is a need for Montego Bay Convention Centre to join international bodies that support the meetings industry in order to bid for international conventions especially the rotational professional association-based conferences,’’ said Ms Nana.

Most of the big conferences in Meetings Incentives Travel Conferences and Exhibitions (M.I.C.E) source markets, she said are rotational and can only be bid for through a local professional association.

‘‘Different countries submit their bids to host the events on a rotational basis. For a destination to win the bid to host, among the criteria required is support from other member bodies in other destinations,’’ she added.

Ms Nana said “the partnership between KICC and Montego Bay will increase the chances for the two destinations winning the bids through the support they will give each other at the bid presentation and voting.

Mr Bartlett on the other hand, while applauding Kenya’s resilience in Tourism, said one of the key points in the talks was intended to be “a movement when we begin to codify, if not solidify the connection between the Montego Bay Convention Centre and the KICC.”

Underscoring the importance of making the connection, he said: “We are the location in the Caribbean for big meetings, exhibitions, and incentive activities, as Kenya is in Eastern Africa, so we think that synergy exists and that collaboration will inure to the benefit of all.”

Mr. Barlett added that the partnership will further build the capacity and synergy to host events in the two destinations.

The KICC is the government agent mandated to spearhead the MICE industry in Kenya in collaboration with other industries. The partnership is therefore a welcome move in pushing Kenya’s MICE agenda internationally.

KICC works with other stakeholders to source for meetings and events. The team then prepares the bids, qualifies them, submits the bid and even avails themselves to defend the bid to host an event or conference in Kenya.

Currently, KICC has submitted a number of bids and one of them is due for bid presentation and defending end of this month.

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