Kenya flags off the first mountain bike race dubbed Arabuko Sokoke forest challenge as it moves to offer tourists more than beach products

Arabuko Sokoke forest is the largest and most intact coastal forest in East Africa, with 20% of Kenya's bird species.

KTB Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Betty Radier says there are many unexplored visitor experiences in the Kenya coast that if tapped would enhance visitor experience as well as lengthen their stay in the destination.

She made her remarks in a statement over the weekend during the unveiling of the first mountain bike race dubbed Arabuko Sokoke forest challenge with Tembea Kenya in Kilifi County.

“We need to enrich our visitor experience so that besides the beach and water sport activities, we also showcase other attractions in the selected sub destinations and push the adventure segment of travel that is increasingly attracting interest among the millennials.”, she added.

KTB partnered with Ngong Hills Individual Time Trial (NHITT) for the event that profiled the forest as an additional visitor experience sport besides the beach product.

Arabuko Sokoke forest is the largest and most intact coastal forest in East Africa, with 20% of Kenya's bird species, 30% of butterfly species and at least 24 rare and endemic bird, mammal and butterfly species. The race is also part of the campaigns geared towards conservation.

Renown Kenyan cyclist David Kinja led the cyclists both local and international in the 64 kilometre mountain challenge in the forest.

The event will be replicated in Machakos and the Great Rift Valley in June and July respectively.

Radier said that the sporting event was new and exciting especially for young and middle aged populations who are increasingly seeking out an active lifestyle, for leisure as well as fitness and networking.

“Kenya is a perfect destination for biking safaris due to the favourable weather throughout the year. The outlying touristic attractions along the competition routes attract the audience which follows the riders.”, says the CEO

The partnership comes a week after a one- month long KTB’s training of domestic travel agents across the county to equip them with other first-hand experiences of what Kenya has to offer to the domestic segment.

The CEO pointed out that domestic tourism segment has continued to cushion the sector during low seasons and its performance is on the increase with the current performance showing a 15.9% growth.

Domestic tourism last year recorded a total of 4.05 million bed nights being taken up by Kenyans compared to 3.5 million in 2016.

According to the CEO, partnerships and collaboration with the industry players will be explored to reap maximum benefit from the domestic segment.

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