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Kenyaâ€™s efforts to make a name for itself as a water sports destination got a major boost after it was confirmed the country would host the February 2017 Virgin Kite Surf World Championship in Watamu.
This follows Watamuâ€™s recognition as one of the top water sports destinations in the world, according to travel consultants TripAdvisor. Ben Kaliher, who works at Tribe Water Sport Resort, which is an affiliate of the Wonders of Watamu (WOW) marketing initiative, some of the commitments tourism stakeholders in the coastal town have received for the upcoming games include construction of a judging tower along the eight-kilometre Watamu Beach, as well as expansion of existing accommodation facilities.
The world championships are sponsored by British billionaire Richard Bransonâ€™s Virgin Group, and already, 12 top-seeded kite riders have confirmed their attendance. â€œThere has been a lot of interest in freestyle surfing, which in particular generates a huge global following due to the skills exhibited,â€ said Mr Kaliher.
Some of the water sports activities expected to take place at the world championships include wind surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, deep sea fishing, snorkeling and diving. Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said a global advertising firm will market Kenyaâ€™s coastal tourism on international TV networks ahead of the tournament. This, he said, was crucial in view of the negative publicity the country has received in the wake of recent terrorist attacks.