Hotels, apartments and other tourist establishments in Mombasa and other Coastal areas have recorded 100 percent bookings following an upsurge of domestic and international visitors during the December holidays.
Thousands of ecstatic local and international visitors thronged various hotels and tourist establishments in Mombasa and other coastal areas to celebrate the Christmas holiday season.
Events such as water sports, football, camel riding, family dinners, traditional dances and live bands were organised by hotels to entertain holidaymakers.
A spot check by Kenya News Agency on Thursday found that most of the hotels and apartments are fully booked with local visitors taking the lion’s share.
Apart from hotels, other tourist related business such as transport, food vendors and beach operators are enjoying good business during this festive season.
Those interviewed were delighted that Kenyans have now embraced domestic tourism since the numbers of local visitors have increased significantly.
Hundreds of local and international tourists also visited the refurbished Mama Ngina Drive Waterfront.
The seafront project adjacent to Likoni ferry entails a public square, two iconic gateways, a Swahili cultural centre, amphitheater, modern kiosks, restaurants and parking areas among other facilities.
The Sh460 million waterfront facility, a joint venture between the national government and county government of Mombasa has elicited excitement within the tourism sector and is now regarded as a game changer.
Mama Ngina Drive Waterfront, a modern public recreational facility, has transformed the Park to international standard and repositioned Mombasa as a top tourist destination in the region.
The project is an added product to the tourism sector as the country already offers a multifaceted holiday destination combining exotic beaches, national parks and historical sites.
Hoteliers have expressed their satisfaction with the significant increase of domestic visitors, which they attributed to aggressive marketing, friendly packages and the introduction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Mombasa, Malindi and Watamu in Kilifi County together with Diani in Kwale County are the preferred holiday destinations for many Kenyans and foreign visitors arriving to savour its beautiful sandy beaches stretched out from the South to the North coast and tropical ambience.
The Marketing Manager of Travelers Beach Hotel and Club Wafula Waswa said the players in the hospitality industry were encouraged to see Kenyans embracing domestic tourism, adding that his hotel registered 100 percent bed occupancy during this festive season.
“We have introduced special packages for Kenyans to encourage them to enjoy affordable holiday retreats,” said a visibly delighted Waswa.
He added that players in the hospitality industry should put more effort towards the promotion of domestic tourism, which he said has kept most hotels afloat following the declining of international visitors.
“Domestic visitors have proved crucial and have the potential to sustain this fragile but lucrative industry,” said Waswa.
In Kilifi County, hotels in Malindi and Watamu are enjoying brisk business with most of the establishments recording 100 percent bed occupancy.
The Plan Hotels International General Manager Alexander Zissimatos said the industry was enjoying good business and that most of the hotels are fully booked during the festive season.
“We are extremely busy and encouraged by the impressive numbers of local and international visitors,” said Zissimatos.
He commended Kenyans for taking advantage of the special packages offered by hotels saying Malindi has always been a preferred holiday destination for local visitors.
The sector that recently witnessed a serious decline due to political tension and security related issues is now showing signs of steady improvement with more players investing in hotels and apartments.
By Mohamed Hassan