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Wed 10 March 2021
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has committed to continue supporting golf in the country as part of its efforts to boost tourism in the destination. This follows the agency’s sponsorship announcement for this year’s Magical Kenya Open and the Kenya Savannah Classic that are set to be held at the Karen Country Club on 18th – 21st March 2021 and 23rd – 26th March 2021, respectively.
The sponsorship for the two European Tour (ET) events is a continuation of the support KTB has given to golf tournaments in the country following the sponsorship of Safari Tour golf series from which the Kenyan players participating in the two ET tournaments were selected.
KTB CEO etty Radier said that supporting and leveraging on sports is one of the long-term strategies that KTB is looking at to boost the country’s tourism sector.
“Kenya is widely known for its prowess in sports especially in athletics, golf is now proving to be one of our major selling points as a destination. We therefore see an opportunity for the country’s tourism in this aspect which we shall continue to leverage on,” she said.
The Magical Kenya Open which was elevated to be part of the elite European Tour in 2019 failed to take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The competition has for years been key to attracting top golf players and spectators, both local and international into the country each year thanks to its global audience.
This year, a total 156 players are expected at the tournament, with over 30 countries being represented, including 12 Kenyan pros and 6 armatures.
The Kenya Savannah Classic was added to the list of European Tour events for 2021. The two events will be broadcasted to over 490 million homes globally and will locally be broadcasted to millions of households on free-to-air television.
Radier noted that the addition of the Kenya Savannah Classic to this year’s list of the European Tour events is testament to the growing status of golf in the country, further adding that the events will increase confidence in the destination to travellers.
“We thank the European Tour for finding it good to add us another event – the Kenya Savannah Classic, in addition to the Magical Kenya Open. This is proof enough that Kenya’s stature as a golfing destination is growing and it is also coming at a crucial moment as it will increase confidence in the destination among the travellers” said Radier.
KTB which is one of the main sponsors for the Magical Kenya Open has committed about Kshs 25 million towards activation of the two ET tournaments.
This year, the events will be held under tight COVID-19 regulations which will include no fans and players being required to stay in a bubble during the entire period of the competitions.
Golf tourism is increasingly growing as one of the country’s top-selling points internationally. The destination is continually cementing its position as a top golfing destination in Africa, boasting over 40 golf class courses and a growing local and international fan base.
In 2020, the country was named as Africa’s Best Golfing Destination by World Golf Awards, beating countries like Morocco, Egypt, and South Africa which are considered as the cream of Africa in golfing.
At the same awards, Karen Country Club was declared as Kenya’s best golf course while the Great Rift Valley Country Lodge and Golf Resort located in Naivasha picked up the award for being the country’s best golf resort.