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Kenya to use global athletics event to promote sports tourism

IANS logoIANS 21-06-2017

The CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Betty Radier, said sports tourism is gradually gaining momentum in Kenya and it has already positioned itself to receive athletes and guests who will attend the event, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The event will afford Kenya the opportunity to host more than 2,000 athletes and over 300 international media personnel from more than 130 countries across the globe," Radier said on Tuesday.

"We see this as an opportunity to cast a spotlight to a global audience on the best that our country offers."

The CEO made the remarks in Nairobi during an event to present a donation of $200,000 to the games local organising committee (LOC).

The event was first held in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and Kenya will have the opportunity to host the last edition of the global championships that is open to track and field competitors who are 17 years or younger.

The CEO of the local organising committee, Mwangi Muthee told KTB to take advantage of the occasion and 'milk' the opportunity that will be derived from the live television broadcasts of the event that will be beamed across the globe.

"Sports opens doors to new frontiers. For five days, the entire world's attention will be trained on Kenya and this is an opportunity that does not come every day," Muthee said.

The money will go towards entertaining the visitors through activities such as sightseeing, adventures and excursions to tourist attractions in a bid to market Kenya.

Sports tourism, which involves observing or participating in sporting events, is gradually gaining momentum in the east African nation and is now a significant part of the tourism industry.

The country plays host to the annual Safari Sevens, a major rugby tournament featuring top international teams. Equally important is the Kenya Open Golf Tournament that features local and international competitors.

The Kenyan coast is a paradise for sports such as deep-sea fishing and water surfing in the Indian Ocean where hotel guests can also go scuba diving and water skiing.

Athletes from countries in Europe, Asia and the US and other parts of the world have been visiting Kenya to train or conduct philanthropic activities, with the most notable being the world's fastest sprinter Usain Bolt and legendary tennis player Serena Williams.

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