Hoteliers in Malindi have introduced friendly holiday packages as they seek to tap on domestic tourists during the forthcoming festive season.
Many hotels in Malindi have introduced low and market-friendly rates for local weddings, graduation parties, religious ceremonies, family and corporate dinners.For instance, hundreds of Asian community members held their annual Diwali celebrations and were treated to a colourful dinner with live bands at the beach.
Diwali night was held at Plan International Hotel which had organised a special Indian dinner and separate meals for other guests, enabling visitors to interact. Locals have welcomed the move, saying it will boost and promote tourism in the resort city.
Traditionally, Malindi tourism resorts have over the years been dominated by foreigners from Italy, Germany and UK. Locals stay away from the five-star hotels due to high charges and discrimination.
Dr Rakesh Rajpal, a Kenyan Asian medical practitioner based in Malindi for over 30 years, said it was the first time for tourist resorts to open gates to residents. Diwali celebrations, which are a special day for the Asian community, gave them a chance to make merry at the Sandies Tropical Village hotel.
“The hotel had invited local people to come and celebrate Diwali festival. This was great and we had a good time here; we are grateful to Sandies for hosting us,’’ he said.
He said the idea should be an eye opener to other resorts to not only welcome foreigners, but also include local residents to enjoy their facilities.
Plan International Hotels Chef Nathoo Ayaz, who had organised the event, said it was a special day to host the Asian community to celebrate Diwali. “It’s an occasion of life colour, good tidings and it brings the community together,’’ he said.