National flag carrier and Pride of Africa Kenya Airways today reaffirmed its commitment to development of sports in Kenya by announcing its partnership with Kenya Open Golf limited as the official carrier during this year’s edition of the Barclays Kenya Open, the 43rd edition of the Championship.
As the official carrier the airline will fly in all the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) officials who will be supervising and managing the tournament and will also offer discounted rates to the professional golfers and enthusiasts from various destinations to participate in the tournament at a sponsorship cost of Ksh 2.2 million.
Speaking during a media briefing Ms Nita Nagi, the Kenya Airways Area Manager confirmed that the airline had taken up the sponsorship in an effort to support the highly rated event which is key to promoting Golf Tourism in Kenya.
The tournament is expected to attract at least 150 professionals, scheduled to take place from March 31st to April 3rd at the Muthaiga Golf Club. The event continues to be a showcase of top flight international golf and attracts approximately 100 players from the European Tour, and 50 from within Africa.
Ms. Nagi also took the opportunity to appraise the media and golfing fraternity of the success of the KQ Golf Safari which concludes few days before the Barclays Kenya Open on the 26th March at Muthaiga Golf Club.
Over 200 golfers are expected to play at the KQ Golf Safari finale which has been played in 10 African countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, Senegal, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi. In Kenya 12 qualifying rounds were held in various Golf club nights. 20 KQ Golf Safari country winners and the club night winners will join other KQ invited guests for the Grand Finale of the KQ Golf Safari2011.
Ms Nagi also announced that Kenya Airways had organized for the winners from all the countries that participated in the KQ Golf Safari series to participate in the Barclays Kenya Open Pro-am for the first time since the series began two years ago. She noted that Kenya Airways had identified sports tourism as a key area of growth and in particular golfing holidays and tourism since Kenya as a country has very many and beautiful golf courses.
“Globally, golf tourism earns 26 billion dollars annually and Kenya stands a good chance to get a slice of the pie,” she said adding that the airline would seek to work closely with partners in golfing events and the government to bring this dream to reality.
“Last year we saw the launch of the Kenya Golf Marketing Alliance to develop a golf marketing strategy that will enable the country organize world class golf events and the Kenya Open Championship joins the ranks of these formidable tourism attractions,” she said. This is the reason Kenya Airways decided to host all the winners from the KQ Golf Safari series to play in Barclays Kenya Open.
On receiving Kenya Airways sponsorship package, Mr S.R Ndegwa, Director KOGL said, “We are delighted with this partnership of Kenya Airways as the official airline to the 43rd Barclays Kenya Open golf championship. The Golf tournament is an international championship attracting top golfers from Europe and across Africa making it the biggest international golf tournament in the region and this presents KQ with a platform to build strong relationships with golfers from across the world.”
He noted that this is one of the events that meet’s and maintains the standards of the PGA specifications and recommendation, with facilities and a golf course which are in excellent condition by any international standards. “The success of Barclays Kenya Open would not be achieved without the support received from the companies such as yours,” concludes Mr. Ndegwa.
The championship joined the Challenge Tour Schedule 20 years ago, since which the tournament has produced numerous noteworthy displays from some worthy winners, like Gary Boyd (2009) and Eduardo Molinari (2007), both of whom have since excelled on The European Tour.
Kenya has 41 golf courses, more than any other country African country with the exception of South Africa and is endowed with the perfect climatic conditions for the game of golf all year round.
Over 50 million people worldwide play golf worldwide out of which 70 percent are on the lookout for new golfing destinations. Golf also attracts affluent who spend more than the general leisure tourist.