WRITTEN BY:Maxwell Wasike
Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago has called upon Brand Kenya and Kenya Tourism Board to use Kenyan sportsmen to advertise the Country’s beauty globally.
Mandagor was speaking during the celebrations of 70th anniversary by Athletics Kenya at the Nyayo National Stadium where more than 60 veteran athletes gathered to mark the feat.
“What we are doing as counties is training our athletes on financial management so that they can prudently utilise their resources well.However we are spending billions on KTB to promote magical Kenya yet they can’t advertise our Country better than how Eliud Kipchoge did by running under 2 hours during Ineos Challenge in Austria.As a result the Government should just decide to give these heroes Ksh 2 million each it’s a drop in the sea compared to what they bring” Mandago affirmed.
In July this year,Kenya Tourism Board signed world marathon record holder and Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge as magical Kenya destination ambassador.
KTB’s CEO Betty Radier said the engagement, will see Kipchoge promote the east African nation as a preferred tourism destination locally, regionally and internationally through various campaigns.
“Kenya is well known as the home of champions hence sports form part of our strategy to popularize the country’s tourism offerings,” Radier said in a statement.
Sport tourism is a new concept in the world having the most growth in tourism industry with many countries enjoying an appropriate status with respect to sport tourism and, accordingly, contributing directly to their nation’s economic prosperity.
In October this year Tourism CS Najib Balala said that his ministry will now invest in the global recognition brought by the Country’s sportsmen further acknowledging that apart from the Big 5 which are Kenya’s prime tourist attractions, the destination image is globally recognized for her athlete’s prowess.
“Our athletes make a big name for us overseas whenever they win, especially marathons. That is why we shall put a team to document all athletes in Kenya since independence to honour them. We will use these athletes to promote tourism in the country.” Balala said.
Mandagor also used the opportunity to disclose plans being put underway his administration to build 64 stadium in Eldoret to foster sports in the county, well known for producing world-leading athletes and a host football teams.
“We hope that in the near future Kenya would be staging international events so that our people can watch their favorite home runners break the records on home soil just like they have done overseas. As a result we are investing in world class facilities one of them being 64 stadium which we intend to construct from scratch in a deal worth Ksh 1.2 billion” he noted.
Athletics Kenya President Jackson Tuwei acknowledged the federation’s remarkable achievement but called on stakeholders to improve in areas pertaining investment, technology, sponsorship among others.
AK has made major milestones since it was formed in 1950 and was using the occasion to display its rich history as well as outline its roadmap for the coming years.