More than 20,000 shoppers turned up at the sixth Indo-Asia International Exhibition held at Jubilee Hall in Mombasa.
Wycliffe Indiazi, the exhibition manager at Ken Expo Limited, who are the organisers of Indo Asia International exhibition, said they spent Sh4.4 million in the fair which is normally showcased once per year.
He said the shoppers were mainly interested in accessories and clothes from foreign countries.
“This is the sixth event since we started in Mombasa and we are happy with the performance. We invited Coast shoppers to come shopping and the support has been tremendous,” he said.
The one-week event closed its doors to the public late on Sunday evening.
During the expo, exhibitors from India, Malaysia, Nepal, Syria, Singapore, Iran Pakistan and Egypt showcased different products ranging from ornaments, clothes, carpets, kitchenware and handbags.
“Business is booming, we hope to be back soon. Mombasa is a beautiful and peaceful town,” said Neeta Shah, an Indian exhibitor who was selling beauty products.
Lack authentic products
Most shoppers were women who were interested in clothing and jewellery from India, Mr Indiazi said, blaming Kenyans for lacking authentic products to showcase in foreign countries.
Mr Indiazi said selling Kenyan products is difficult unlike selling foreign items. He also said Kenya has fewer products to showcase in any international exhibition.
“Kenyans only display carvings, sandals, handbags, leso and soapstone. Those products come under accessories, we need more products. We also have Kenyan coffee which is actually produced in Kenya but branded from another country beyond that we have nothing,” he said.
Mr Indiazi, however, said Kenya could showcase its culture, noting that Mombasa’s culture could attract more shoppers.
“Foodstuffs are doing very well like cashew nuts. In Egypt there is a good market of Kenyan cashew nuts. Kenyan businessmen need a very good platform and many products to exhibit abroad,” he added.
“Buy Kenya sell Kenya. People think Kenya lacks something exciting things to sell out there because we don’t want to showcase or we lack authentic products to exhibit out there,” he said.
In September, Ken Expo will bring Syrian exhibitors for the first time in the country.
“People perceive Syria to be volatile, there’s nothing good about the country but I want to disapprove everybody. In fact, the exhibitors really like Mombasa due to its culture. More than 60 exhibitors from Syria have booked space to showcase their goods in Mombasa,” he said.