The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) has unveiled a programme to reward the achievements of Kenya’s marathon champions in a move aimed at recognising the contribution of Kenyan athletes in enhancing Kenya’s tourism positioning globally.
The initiative will see KTB award each marathon champion a fully-paid vacation to top tourist destinations in Kenya.
Speaking during a press conference to launch the initiative, KTB Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Betty Radier has said the programme is recognition of the important role Kenyan athletes play in selling Kenya abroad.
Dr. Radier said, “Kenyan marathon champions are undoubtedly our nation’s best ambassadors given that the races they participate in are held across Kenya’s key tourist source markets.Our champion athletes rub shoulders with ordinary citizens in the cities hosting the races as well as with professional athletes from other nations.”
“As the body mandated with the task of marketing Kenya’s tourism products, we recognize the huge profile that our athletic heroes occupy on the world stage. We believe that it is time to involve our athletes in making a pitch for the country as the Magical Kenya brand ambassadors,” the KTB CEO added.
Wilson Kipsang and Sarah Chepchirchir are the first marathon champions to be awarded by the KTB under this programme; the athletes and their families will spend 2 days at the Maasai Mara National Reserve and another 2 days in Diani and the Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park.
In appreciation of KTB’s reward programme to marathoners, Wilson Kipsang said, “I’m privileged and honoured to be among the first marathoners to be rewarded by KTB. We thank KTB for recognizing that we are in a position to show the best of Kenya to the rest of the world.”
Sarah Chepchirchir also thanked KTB for appreciating the efforts of marathoners.
Wilson Kipsang and Sarah Chepchirchir won and set course records at the 2017 Tokyo Marathon in February.Wilson set a record of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 58 seconds in the men’s category while Sarah set a record of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 47 seconds in the women’s category.
It’s worth noting that Kenya not only won both the men’s and women’s race but also swept the first three positions in the men’s race at the Tokyo Marathon.
2017 has been a stellar year for Kenya on the athletics front as Kenyans have topped the list of winners in virtually all world athletics events; with Kenyan long-distance runners sweeping 4 out of 5 World Marathon Majors Series so far, in both the men’s and women’s categories.