The 2021 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship will be held behind closed doors which is a big setback in the campaign to promote Kenya as a top golfing destination.
The annual event has been key in raising Kenya’s profile to the international audience as a preferred golfing destination.
Kenya was voted Africa’s best golfing destination at the 7th Annual World Golf Awards Gala held in Dubai last year.
The East African nation beat South Africa, Egypt and Morocco in the awards that recognizes and rewards excellence in golf tourism, golf courses and golf destinations.
The event which was elevated to the elite European Tour in 2019 leverages on the wide television coverage that provides an opportunity to showcase the destination to Kenya’s key source markets.
But after the postponement following the outbreak of Covid-19 last March, Kenya Open will, for the first time, close doors to fans even as it remains to be seen how itwill play out on the final day, considering that the Presidents usually grace the closing ceremony.
Kenya is currently leveraging on the new found status to revise the tourism sector hit hard by the pandemic.
This is part of the campaign undertaken by Kenya Tourism Board that also taps on local athletes such as World marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge to promote the tourism industry.
Kipchoge was named the Magical Kenya ambassador last year.
“As the destination marketing agency, our role is to inspire the world to visit Kenya, and as such we remain committed to supporting local and international sports events such as the Safari Tour and the Magical Kenya Open Championship among others that provide exposure to the destination,” the board said.
The road to Kenya Open teed off with the Safari Tour that serves as preparation for the Magical Kenya Open Golf Championships as players who participate in the tournament get to be selected from the series.
The Safari Tour golf tournament is currently ongoing at Nyali Golf Club in Mombasa with upcoming events set to be held at Muthaiga Golf Club and Karen Country Club in Nairobi.
The other Safari Tour tournaments in the series were held at The Great Rift Valley Lodge, Vet Lab Sports Club, Royal Nairobi Golf Club and Sigona Golf Club.
Betty Radier, the KTB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) stated their commitment to support golf in the country as it provides an opportunity to showcase Kenya as a golf destination adding that such events will be crucial in showcasing the destination and creating confidence to potential visitors going forward.
“It is sad that Covid-19 robbed us the opportunities for showcasing the destination in 2020 which was scheduled to host major sporting events in the country. These are the kind of opportunities that play a lead role in bringing people to the destination and attract eyeballs. We are however grateful that we able to have the Safari tour this year which will culminate into the Magical Kenya Open.
The championship is scheduled to run between March 18 and 21, 2021.