Sports bonanza to boost Kenya’s profile this year
A series of high profile international sports events this year presents Kenya with significant promotional and marketing opportunities.
Hosting visitors, some who will be coming to the country for the first time, will be a perfect chance to put our best foot forward.
In March, Magical Kenya Open, which is now part of the European Tour’s “Race to Dubai”, is expected to attract many participants and lovers of the game.
From past editions, it is evident that these professional players make time in their busy schedule to take a breather at the Nairobi National park or hang out with the giraffes at the giraffe centre.
In April, the whole world will stop to watch our icon Eliud Kipchoge and other Kenyan elite runners at the London Marathon.
There is no doubt this will be a moment for Kenya to continue to stamp her authority as an athletics powerhouse.
The event will bring many memories of the INEOS run in October last year where Kipchoge captured the global attention in Vienna, Austria, when he broke the two-hour racing barrier.
We applaud Kipchoge and all our athletes and stakeholders as they prepare for this event. We are banking on them, for yet another opportunity to endorse the strength of our country’s brand.
In July, Kenya will host the World Athletics U20 Championship, a biennial competition of athletes under 20 years.
This will be another major sporting event that will bring many visitors to the country.
Ahead of the event, many athletes from various parts of the word are expected in the country to train in Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo Marakwet counties.
They will get a chance to mingle with locals and perhaps discover the magic of their success in athletics.
This year, more than 1,000 participants from more than 100 countries will participate at the week-long event.
The return of the Safari Rally to the World Rally Championship for the first time since 2002 will be a major boost to the image of the country.
The organisers of the event said the addition of “Kenya’s iconic Safari Rally, one of global motorsport’s legendary contests, means the WRC returns to Africa, the world’s second largest continent by size, for the first time since 2002”.
All these events will draw in huge global media coverage. Millions of eyeballs will be glued on screens relaying the events live.
The teams preparing for these events must feel the pressure of the expectations of so many fans worldwide.
Apart from participants, many visitors will be visiting the country to either participate or watch the activities.
The visitors will be a boost to our economy. We must prepare well to give the best services possible.
They need to feel welcome right from the airport. The meals should be delicious and authentic; the welcome should be heartfelt. We must give our visitors memorable experiences.
It is our opportunity to recruit additional positive narratives to be shared with the rest of the world.
The decision by the government to bid for these events will pay off both in the short and long term.
These are opportunities that endorse Kenya’s acceptance by global actors and serve to strengthen her global presence, relevance and reputation.
To complement the teams that will be burning many hours in planning these events, let us make deliberate effort to show up or follow the events with our usual enthusiasm online and cheer on the participants.
Let us all embrace the season as the world turns all the attention to us. Let us radiate our usual charm and make the best of our privileged position in the global scene. — The writer is a communication practitioner and a PhD student at the USIU — [email protected]