MOMBASA — An international ladies golf tournament which kicked off in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa will boost the country’s tourism, a government official said on Friday.
Najib Balala, tourism and wildlife cabinet secretary, said the ongoing Magical Kenya Ladies Open speaks to the country’s ability to attract some of the world’s top sporting events.
"Golf is growing widely globally, and we appreciate that we can use it to send our message and to put Kenya on the map," Balala said after the official opening of the tournament.
"That is why we sponsored the Kenya Open this year in Nairobi, and today we are here at the coast to sponsor the Ladies European Tour event," he said.
The Magical Kenya Ladies Open presented by Safaricom’s M-Pesa attracted 108 entries from 28 countries and regions.
"We are excited, and this is very important for us as well because we are using sports as a means to promote the country; not just for tourism, but also to show the country is stable and is moving forward," said Balala.
To give the visiting players an opportunity to experience the country’s tourism offering, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has arranged various trips to Kenya’s award-winning beaches and game parks.
Betty Radier, KTB CEO said they have already helped the players to visit a conservation initiative in the coastal region.
"They (players) will have an opportunity, at the end of the tournament, to go on safari in Amboseli. So this allows us to showcase the destination from the perspective that says one can have a beach experience as well as a safari experience within close proximity," said Radier.
The event is being broadcasted live, through 14 international broadcasters, to over 200 million viewers across the world who will get to follow action on the course and witness some of Kenya’s key tourism attractions during the coverage.
According to KTB, Kenya’s tourism arrivals hit the two million mark in 2018, raking in over 157 billion shillings (about 1.57 billion U.S. dollars) in revenue, and accounting for over 15 percent of the country’s total exports,XINHUA.