DESTINATION MARKETING MICE: THE UNTAPPED FRONTIER FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN KENYA By Ben Asoro M eetings, Incentives, Conference and Events/ Exhibitions, MICE, has often been referred to as the most resilient and lucrative niche in the tourism industry. In fact the contribution to the gross domestic product, GDP, of a country has always stood out due to the documented multiplier effect to an economy. Vienna, the leading MICE destination has over time captured the impact of MICE to the economy. For instance, in 2012 according to Vienna Economic Report (Wirtschaftliche Effekte 2012), the destination used ‘Event Model Austria – M. Stoff-Hochreiner, to compute economic and fiscal effects of national and international congresses hosted in Vienna. According to the cited report, and for the interest of economists, this was calculated on the basis of all domestic expenditure associated with conferences. These demand flows induced added value in the sectors directly affected by MICE activities and in the upstream economic sectors. The impact of these demand flows on the Austrian economy was then computed using an ‘input- output analysis’ and an econometric model of the Austrian economy. ‘‘ Often times, destination marketers like KTB rightly spend huge amounts of resources on a variety of media to get destination message across. Probably this cannot compare with the impact of free press coverage when, say, world leaders convene at KICC for a conference or the exposure value of a single tweet by the owner of Virgin airlines while attending an event in KICC. ’’ 44 MAL 18/17 ISSUE Finally an additional sub-model of the public sector was used to reveal the fiscal effects of the congresses. Such an elaborate and academic approach to study the multiplier effect of MICE to the national or regional economies looks very impressive but not as impressive as the numbers of the research findings captured in the extract in the Vienna Industry meetings Report 2012 report on page 28. An average pessimist would dismiss the above report as relevant to the developed world but the truth of the matter is that Africa is certainly not left behind in capturing economic impact of MICE to the respective economies. A different perspective comes into light as it captures the airline seats purchased by conference delegates, airport taxes and hotel bed nights during the conference days but certainly would be much better if such items like delegates’ personal expenses, participation fees, extra expenses by meeting planners on conference support services and expenses on parallel events were captured to give an accurate and wholesome picture of the contribution of this niche to the State and Federal economy.