Seth Mwaniki @MwanikiM
Tourism arrivals in Nyeri county have recovered from last year’s slump, hoteliers say. Players in the hospitality industry say bookings in hotels shot to an average of 65 to 75 per cent in August and September this year compared to nondescript bookings recorded in the past couple of years. Greater numbers are expected this festive season.
At Misty Mountain Lodge in Naro Moru town, manager James Mbugua attributes the high numbers of bookings to political tranquillity being enjoyed in the country as well as tourism marketing campaigns mounted by Kenya Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism.
“So far, we cannot complain. Business is good given the considerable numbers of foreign tourists we have received and we are continuing to receive. Don’t forget that domestic tourism is also on the rise,” the manager says.
Mbugua says the highest number of foreign tourists they have received so far are nationals from China. “This is a break from the trend in the past where British nationals dominated during such visits,” he says.
The 18-bed capacity hotel is located less than 10km from Naro Moru town, about 30km to Nanyuki town. This ideal location makes it a suitable destination for tourists en route to national parks and conservancies located in Mount Kenya region and beyond.
Jaqanaz Resort Managing Director Jane Muiruri attributes good hotel bookings to economic recovery this year compared to last year electioneering period. She says though the business has not been in their favour in past months of this year, sales changed for the better beginning August due to rising numbers of foreign tourists.
“I was initially worried that we could almost get pushed out of business due to a slump in national tourism, especially during the 2017 elections. To my great surprise, business has improved,” she says.
She nevertheless says that tourism sector can even get better in Mount Kenya region if only same zeal applied in marketing the coastal belt and destinations such as Naivasha is applied, despite the many attractive sites that both domestic and foreign tourists can enjoy around Mount Kenya.
“While we acknowledge the part being played by the national government, we are calling county governments to do their part in order to make things better,” she said.