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Coast hoteliers optimistic as peak season approaches

Tourism stakeholders in Mombasa and other coastal areas are preparing for a booming business as the December holiday season beacons.

Hoteliers and those in tourism related businesses are optimistic of brisk business and expect high bed occupancy, following increased bookings and enquiries.

The hospitality sector suffered the most during the Covid-19 restrictions as they had to contend with a drastic drop of visitors and booking cancellations bringing the tourism economy to a standstill.

“Hotels in the region are receiving encouraging bookings and reservations with local holidaymakers accounting for the highest percentage,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Association of Hotel Owners and Caterers (Coast) Sam Ikwaye.

Ikwaye said hotels and other stakeholders are looking forward for a better holiday season compared to last year where the industry was dealt a major blow following the lockdown and other restrictions to contain the spread of corona virus.

“The global health emergency adversely affected the hotel industry with business and holiday travel virtually grinding to a halt forcing many establishments to either close down or reduce their workforce,” he added.

He further noted that lifting of the curfew was a big relief to the hotels and entertainment sectors but called upon all the players in the industry to strictly enforce all health protocols during the festivities.

“Hotels and entertainment sectors must ensure total adherence of Covid-19 protocols including vaccination of its entire employees in order to protect them and their visitors.

Heritage Hotel Group Operations Director, Wasike Wasike, said they were expecting booming business during this December holiday and that they have conformed with all the health regulations aimed at curbing spread of Covid-19 to both guests and staff.

“We are fully prepared for the holiday season and have lined up a series of events and entertainments for our guests,” said Wasike.

He lauded the government for undertaking major infrastructure improvement in the region which he said was a boost to the tourism industry.

A Veteran hotelier Fred Kiuru, said the lifting of the curfew was a positive move towards efforts to revive the multi-billion tourism sector which has been in recession since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Kiuru challenged tourist hotels and apartments to provide special packages to attract domestic visitors who he said have sustained the industry during the difficult period.

To cushion the sector from the adverse effects of covid-19, the government allocated Sh2 billion to support the renovations of tourism facilities and the restructuring of business operations by actors in the industry.

The financial support was channeled through the Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) to provide soft loans to hotels and related establishments.

By Mohamed Hassan

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