Naivasha town has made its debut in the continental rankings as one of the most popular destination for international meetings.
In 2012, Naivasha was ranked 34 in Africa by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
While announcing the results at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre on Thursday, Tourism PS Ruth Solitei said Naivasha, known for its attraction as a destination for domestic conferences was also ranked as one of the upcoming towns in the world.
â€œIts appearance for the first time in the history of the ICCA rankings makes it a very important growing destination in Kenya,â€ she said.
Last year, Mombasa town, which was also ranked 34th position as Naivasha town, both hosted two international meetings while Nairobi hosted 22 conferences. However, Embu, Nakuru and Eldoret towns hosted one each.
Nairobi town retained 2nd position after Cape Town in the associationsâ€™ meetings market rankings and in the global scale it came 100 after moving up four places compared to its performance in 2011.
â€œWe have started engaging the county governments to establish the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (Mice) secretariats in each of the counties,â€ Ms Solitei said.
Overall, Kenya came in at position 58 on destination for international conferences worldwide, and the second best in the continent after South Africa.
In 2012, the country hosted 29 international association conferences.
â€œThis shows that the Mice industry has a large potential that needs to be fully exploited in order to position this country as the meetings destination of choice and therefore justifies the need for more convention and conference facilities of international standards in every county,â€ Ms Solitei said.
She added that the government plans to devolve Mice services to the county level like is the case in other leading meeting destinations.
â€œCountries competing in the Mice services do not have just one convention centre in their capital cities â€“ they are spread all over their regions. They have the proper infrastructure and network that boasts the sector,â€ the PS said.
Already, the government has began a five-year plan in Mombasa by acquiring land in Bamburi to bring up a state-of-the-art â€˜greenâ€™ convention centre.
However, this yearâ€™s results indicated a sharp drop in Mombasaâ€™s attraction as a destination for associations meetings.
In the 2011 table, the coastal city clinched position 9, which it shared with Johannesburg and Kampala.
â€œSome of the challenges we faced were fears created by election tension and inadequate facilities. However we have noticed some improvement in regards to security,â€ the PS said.
Other local areas which have been earmarked for development in the Mice sector, the PS said, are Kisumu and Isiolo which have been identified as possible locations to put up such convention centres and feasibility studies have been done in these areas.
â€œAs we promote Kenya as a tourism destination, we also promote it as a conference destination and more so to the county level,â€ Ms Solitei said.