Policy strategies, removal of barriers and improvement of infrastructure by the government is helping in revival of the industry.
Travellers Beach Hotel and Club sales and marketing manager Wafula Wasawa (pictured) also says the opening of the African skies under the African Union Single Air Travel has also made the continent the second best performer in the local market after Europe. “The issuance of visas on arrival is a significant milestone towards revamping the sector,” he said.
Waswa said on the international front, the government has helped prop the image of the country as a destination through the athletics, rugby sevens and Kenya Airways. “All we want is this front to be improved for Kenya to be a destination to reckon with,” he said.
The manager said the Standard Gauge Railway is causing excitement making the local market command up to 60 per cent of the bulk of guests. “The Dongo-Kundu bypass and a proposal to improve transport from Mombasa to Diani in South Coast will boost the movement of tourists to and from national parks,” Waswa said.
As a result of the improvements, Travellers Beach —which has 288 rooms—is now at 52 per cent room occupancy. “Last month, we projected 47 per cent. The highest pick will be in December,” he said.
Kenya has experienced stiff competition from Zanzibar and disruptions during the electioneering periods. However, last year was relatively calm.
Dubai and South Africa also continues to eat into Kenya’s market according to the hotelier. “But given our high number of reserves and parks numbering to over 60, and a beach line of over 500 km, Kenya has enormous potential,” he said.
Waswa said the financial constraints remain a bane and asked the government to finance hoteliers under less stringent conditions. “Current source of funds are banks which give high rates and profits which are actually not there,” he said.
He said China is poised to become the biggest source market for Kenya owing to the expected increase in number of flights.