Capital Markets

Exhibitors want sector reopened to reduce losses

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Sarit Expo Centre CEO Jason Neil during the interview in Nairobi yesterday. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • Sarit Expo Centre chief executive Jason Neil said that such facilities should be considered as commercial since they generate business opportunities for others like transport, security, food and accommodation among others.
  • Events planner Wambui Njoora, whose outfit Extra Dimensions also lost millions of shillings in cancelled contracts, said reopening the sector will stem loss of jobs and business opportunities.

Exhibition space providers and event planners have appealed to the government to reopen the hosting of meetings and expos to recover the jobs and supplier contracts lost during the Covid-19 period.

Sarit Expo Centre chief executive Jason Neil said that such facilities should be considered as commercial since they generate business opportunities for others like transport, security, food and accommodation among others.

He added that since the government has now allowed activities such as worship and funerals to take place with a larger number of attendees, the same should be the case for exhibitions, so long as they meet the set Covid-19 prevention measures.

Mr Neil said that the only event the facility is currently hosting is a six-month training programme for drivers of Estonia-based taxi hailing App Bolt.

“Every week we are hosting 90 Bolt drivers in shifts, with all Covid-19 protocols in place and a health clinic now operational. This is the only business we’ve had since March—in a Sh500 million facility that handles 140 international, regional and local events annually.”

Events planner Wambui Njoora, whose outfit Extra Dimensions also lost millions of shillings in cancelled contracts, said reopening the sector will stem loss of jobs and business opportunities.

“We are in talks with other women entrepreneurs on charting an effective comeback strategy and we need government’s help to succeed,” she said.