Harrison Kivisu and Walker Mwandoto @PeopleDailyke
Coastal tourism and hospitality industry players are smiling all the way to the bank as booming tourism business thrives this festive season.
A survey by Travelwise in several Coast hotels has established that luxurious tourist hotels and holiday homes are registering 100 per cent bed occupancy for the whole of December and early January, riding on the back of the oncoming Christmas and New Year holidays.
Bahari Beach Hotel human resources manager Jane Mbugua says there has been a spike in bookings made by local holidaymakers, boosted by increased number of budget carriers to the coastal city of Mombasa.
Located along the Nyali Links road in Nyali, Mombasa, the hotel is the latest to record 70 per cent local visitors while 30 per cent of bookings are international guests.
Entertainment joints and public beaches are also experiencing increased number of visitors. “We at Bahari Beach Resort have recorded 100 per cent bookings; the hotel is full until January next year when locals get back to upcountry and let more foreign tourists in,” said Mbugua.
She attributed the thriving business to the introduction of new charter flights from Europe direct to Mombasa as well as better connectivity between Mombasa and Nairobi by the Standard Gauge Railway.
“Holidaymakers are willing to fly out to Mombasa rather than drive over eight hours. Additional flights to Moi International Airport in Mombasa have been a big plus since coastal towns are the ultimate holiday destinations for majority domestic tourists in Kenya,” said Mbugua.
Coast regional manager for PrideInn Hotels Victor Shitakah said that hotels have recorded a high number of reservations with THE majority of visitors being locals.
Shitakah said the number of airline users have increased thanks to the decrease in airfares resulting from the increase in number of budget carries to and from Mombasa.
Additional budget flights have been picking up following the lapse and withdrawal of travel advisories issued a while ago and the prevailing peaceful environment.
“These flights are serving our most important city for visitation and will have a huge positive tourism impact for Mombasa county. The rise of low-cost carriers has been winning fans, completely transforming the industry,” said Mohammed Omar, General Manager for PrideInn Paradise.
Kilifi county hotel operators say that already, most hotels within the region are receiving increased bookings and confirmations ahead of the holidays.
In an interview, Mada Hotels general manager Peter Njoroge said hotels in the North Coast region have on average recorded bed occupancy of about 75 per cent over the festive season.
“Domestic tourism activities have also since risen in the region since the President Uhuru and Raila Odinga handshake after being hit by prolonged political instability that shook the country during and after the General Election last year,” he said.
The hospitality sector, Njoroge said, has bounced back following the handshake between the two as peace prevails in the country. “Business is already booming and most of our hotels have picked up from the losses incurred notwithstanding some cancellations.
Despite the kidnapping of the Italian girl Sylvia Romano at Chakama in Magarini sub-county last month, we are receiving local and international tourists,” he said.
Njoroge, who manages Kilifi Bay Beach Resort and Baobab Sea Lodge in the outskirts of Kilifi town, said some of the cancelled bookings during the 2017 elections were rescheduled for December and January since clients were now assured of peace and stability within the region.
“A lot of travelling is happening, with the SGR bringing many domestic tourists to the Coast region from other parts of our country for Christmas and New Year festivities,” he said.
Bofa Beach Hotel manager Joshua Chege said that they started receiving an influx of clients both domestic and international guests last week.
“With the festive season getting to its peak, we predict business will flourish until the end of the festive season and hoteliers are gearing up to receive more visitors,” he added.
On the other hand, Mombasa county commissioner Evans Achoki assured holidaymakers of their security before, during and after the festive season. “We have a special team that will be conducting continuous surveillance on the beaches to ensure safety of revellers in the entire county,” said Achoki.