The Arusha Times

Issue 00535

September 13 - 19, 2008

issn 0856 - 9135 

Local News

Arusha now comes up with own KICC

By Valentine Marc Nkwame

The battle of being East Africa’s  congress destination is heating up again between Arusha and Nairobi city of Kenya.

Arusha and Nairobi, being both gateways to Tanzania and Kenya’s tourist destinations respectively, have always been in tug-of-war when it comes to hosting international meetings and congress tourism.

Previously using their two conference landmarks, the AICC (Arusha International Conference Center) and Nairobi’s sky-scrapping KICC (Kenyatta International Conference Center) as pawns in the cut-throat competition, latest reports have that Arusha is adding another center which will be using the KICC tag, the battle couldn’t be more fierce.

Apparently the plans to establish a modern ‘state-of-the-art’ International Convention Centre in Arusha is moving into high gear and already the final feasibility study report for the Tsh. 122 billion project has been submitted. The new convention center is expected to be ready in the next few years.

It will be known as Kilimanjaro International Convention Center which means the new facility to be run under the Arusha International Conference Center, will also be going under the KICC abbreviation just like the Kenyan nemesis.

Dar-es-salaam city which of late had also been struggling to make its mark in congress tourism is also said to be preparing a similar center.

According to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe

A team of experts from the Consultancy Bureau at the University of Dar-es-Salaam prepared the feasibility study report.

Membe recently met with the AICC management with whom he discussed the convention center project in Arusha.

“We must assert ourselves in this growing industry if we are to remain relevant regionally, in Africa and even globally,” the Minister stated recently when receiving the feasibility study report from the experts.

The Kilimanjaro International Convention Centre, complex will be built on  21 hectares in Olorien area of Arusha Municipality slightly off the Njiro road. The plot belongs to the Arusha International Conference Centre.

The facility will include a multipurpose hall which can accommodate 7,500 people. It is going to be the largest in East Africa. The KICC will also have an auditorium for 2,500 visitors; 24 flexible breakout rooms and a four-star hotel, capable of accommodating 250 guests.

The minister pointed out that the desire to build KICC comes from the huge potential and demand for such facilities that exists.

Mr. Membe also addressed the issue of the KICC location. The minister said Arusha had multiple factors for hosting the centre, which include vast natural attractions in the northern tourist circuit, good weather and accessibility.

The Minister also said that a similar facility would be built in Dar-es-Salaam city and it will be known as Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre, tribute to the founding father of the Nation.

Chinese architects have already been given the green-light to go ahead with its construction.

One of the experts from the University’s Consultancy Bureau, Prof. Beatus Kundi said that once the envisaged project was ready, the country would earn about US $1.7 million (More than Tsh. 2 billion) in the first year of its operations and after five years of service the center would have raked in some US $ 2.1millon equivalent to Tsh. 3.5 billion.

Prof. Kundi said that their survey had indicated that due to the natural attractions surrounding Arusha together with the region’s fine weather the facility was bound to be a money-spinner.

Arusha takes more than 80 percent of Tanzanian bound tourists numbering to about 700,000 visitors per year a figure that is projected to add up to one million mark in two years time when this destination can easily boast 800,000 tourists per annum.

 

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