An International Ice Hockey Tournament has been flagged off by the Kenyan Cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage, Peninah Malonza.
The event takes place at the Solar Ice Rink in the Panari Sky Center, which is a large retail, leisure and hotel accommodation complex in Nairobi City.
Speaking at the occasion the Cabinet Secretary Minister stated that sports tourism is so far one of the fastest growing sectors in the international travel industry and Kenya must take advantage of it.
She pointed out that more and more tourists are travelling the world to either participate or attend the increasing number of sporting events taking place all over the globe.
“Sports tourism is rapidly growing in terms of market share of the global travel industry,” points out CS Peninah Malonza.
She points out that sports tourism accounted for more than USD 300 Million in the year 2020.
According to the Tourism Minister, the sector is projected to harness USD 300 Million by the year 2030, which is a considerable growth margin of more than 16 percent within a decade.
Already Kenya’s closest neighbour, Tanzania, is introducing a state-of-the-art golf course at Fort Ikoma, which is adjacent to the Serengeti National Park, also focusing to benefit from sports tourism.
Opened in 2005, the Solar Ice Rink of Nairobi where the Hockey tourney takes place is the largest rink in Africa, and the first such rink in East Africa and Central Africa.
The Nairobi Solar Ice rink cost USD 700,000 to build.
Meanwhile Kenya is also working to establish, promote and expand more games and other sporting activities with potential to attract active tourists.
The country is already well-established in International Athletics events and doing well in golf, rugby and swimming activities.
Kenya is the only East African Country with a slot in the International Motor Rally Calendar through its legendary Safari Rally whose international racing comes up in July 2023.
With the introduction of Ice Hockey, the country seals its position as a sports destination of choice even though the activity is still new among Kenyans.
Event organizer John Howard Scott, an avid sports person from Canada and former Ice Hockey player, believes that Kenya’s role in promoting the sport in East Africa is an important one.
“From this global event taking place here tourism and sporting sectors are set to benefit hand in hand with boosting the country’s economy through more visitors’ arrivals,” he said.