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Mombasa hotels use conferences to ride low season tides

Harrison Kivisu @PeopleDailyKe

The tourism sector in Mombasa county remains upbeat during the first half of this year despite few arrivals by international tourists as the traditional April-June low season bites.

Although North Coast hotels are badly hit by the low season, Mombasa hotels are getting a short lifeline following ongoing annual meetings and conferences by several organisations.

Among the hotels reaping big is Sarova Whitesands Resort, which last week hosted this year’s Institute of Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) annual conference that has attracted over 3,400 delegates.

Almost simultaneously, Pride Inn Paradise Resort was hosting the annual legislative summit for Members of County Assemblies. Both conferences stretched up to nearly the weekend, boosting for business at the Coast. The Institution of Surveyors of Kenya also recently held their agm an the South Coast. 

“The conferences are keeping our businesses running hotel has the largest convention centre at the Coast, which is why we are a favourite host for meetings,” said from PrideInn Hotels Group Managing Director, Hasnain Noorani. 

The hotel has announced increased uptake of its congress on the product- where conference meetings take place on the beach and swimming pools, annual meetings, annual seminars, gala dinners, weddings and team-building bookings.

Business executives are also coming along with spouses and children to boost leisure tourism, a trend seen to cushion its coastal business during the low tourism season. “Bleisure is seen as beneficial to frequent travellers, it helps frequent travellers to work efficiently, take stress out of business travel and have time to revitalise,” said Noorani.

In October this year, the hotel is set to host the World Skal International conference set to bring together over 1,500 delegates from different countries.

Coast Hotel Keepers and Caterers executive director, Sam Ikwaye, says hotels in North Coast are recording a 30 per cent slump.  South Coast is recording 40 per cent status, but Mombasa is doing fairly well at 60 per cent.

A section of hotels in Malindi, Kilifi that depend on Italian foreigners and others in the South Coast (Ukunda) have closed shop for renovation as the low tourist season bites. “Some of the hotels in Malindi have sent staff on leave because the tourist numbers are low, which cannot sustain them during this season,” said Ikwaye.

The official is encouraging county governments to come up with activities that will make the sector vibrant before it kicks off early July. “The issue of low tourism season has not been addressed properly by county governments. If there are proper measures, then the sector can remain vibrant during the low season,” added Ikwaye.

Additional Ethiopian Airlines flights on the Mombasa route will boost business and leisure arrivals at the Coast which has been heavily dependent on charter flights.

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