NAIROBI, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Kenya will use the World Under 18 Athletics Championships scheduled for July 12 to 16 as a venture to promote the country as a tourist destination.
The CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Dr. Betty Radier, said sports tourism is gradually gaining momentum in Kenya and has already positioned itself to receive athletes and guests who will attend the event.
"The event will afford Kenya the opportunity to host more than 2,000 athletes and over 300 international media personnel from more than 130 countries across the globe. We see this as an opportunity to cast a spotlight to a global audience on the best that our country offers," Radrier said on Tuesday.
The CEO made the remarks in Nairobi during the occasion to present a donation of 200,000 U.S. dollars to the games local organizing committee (LOC) to support the championship in a bid to market the country as a tourist destination to the rest of the world ahead of the games.
The event was first held in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and Kenya will have the opportunity to host the last edition of the global championships that is open to track and field competitors who are 17 years or younger.
The CEO of the local organizing committee, Mwangi Muthee, told KTB to take advantage of the occasion and 'milk' the opportunity that will be derived from the live television broadcasts of the event that will be beamed across the globe.
"Sports opens doors to new frontiers. For five days, the entire world's attention will be trained on Kenya and this is an opportunity that does not come every day," Muthee said.
The money will go towards entertaining the visitors through activities such as sight-seeing, adventures and excursions to tourist attractions in a bid to market Kenya.
Sports tourism, which involves observing or participating in sporting events, is gradually gaining momentum in the East African nation and is now a significant part of the tourism industry.
The country plays host to the annual Safari Sevens, a major rugby tournament featuring top international teams. Equally important is the Kenya Open Golf Tournament that features a repertoire of local and international competitors.
The Kenyan coast is a paradise for sports such as deep-sea fishing and water surfing in the Indian Ocean where hotel guests can also go scuba diving and water skiing.
Athletes from countries in Europe, Asia and the US and other parts of the world have been visiting Kenya to train or conduct philanthropic activities, with the most notable being world's fastest sprinter, Usain Bolt and world number one tennis player Serena Williams.