Kenya seeks to tap athletes' prowess to promote tourism

NAIROBI, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) said Monday it is working on long-term collaboration with athletes to position the country on top of mind among visitors and investors into the country.

Betty Radier, KTB CEO, said they will invest in the global recognition brought by Kenyan athletes to positively profile the country with their sterling performances in international competitions.

"As the body mandated with the task of marketing Kenya's tourism products and experiences, we recognize the huge profile that our athletic stars occupy on the world stage. We believe that it is time to involve our athletes in making a pitch for the country as the best destination for investments and tourism," Radier said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Radier spoke in Nairobi as she flagged off Kenya's 2020 London Marathon podium finishers for a five-day-long familiarization holiday to key attraction sites in the country.

Current marathon world record holder Brigid Kosgei who won the 2020 London Marathon and her colleague Ruth Chepngetich who finished third in the London marathon have been accorded a five-day tour of tourism attractions across the country.

Kenya is keen to rebuild trust and confidence among both foreign and domestic travelers and hence increase and sustain demand for holiday and investment in the country as a tourist destination.

The east African nation is also keen to diversify its tourism products in order to expand employment and revenues generated from travelers.

"Even at these times of less travel globally as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Kenya continues to be top of mind among travelers and investors alike because of our athletes who excel in international competitions," said Radier.

She added that despite the challenging year, the athletes managed to keep up a strong performance in the London Marathon which has been the only major marathon event to take place this year.

Radier said this year has been really difficult for everyone, be it in sports or business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Many local and international events had to be canceled, which deprived them of the opportunity to do what they do best. Nonetheless, and thankfully the London Marathon took place, and we were well represented as usual. For that, we remain grateful for our sportsmen and women," she added.

Kenyan marathoners have dominated the competition over the past decade with Eliud Kipchoge winning the competition on four occasions including the 2018 and 2019 editions.

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