Hotels at the Coast are expected to enjoy brisk business during Easter Holiday.
After a relatively quiet period during the months of January to March, hoteliers are upbeat following a rise in Easter holiday bookings.
A spot check by Kenya News Agency (KNA) found that most of the hotels in Mombasa, Malindi and South Coast have registered over 80 per cent reservations with locals taking the lion’s share of the bookings.
The increased number of bookings by locals is attributed to efforts by stakeholders to encourage more Kenyans to embrace domestic tourism.
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).
Most of those interviewed by KNA appealed to the Kenya Railways to introduce more standard gauge railway (SGR) trains frequency in abid to increase the number of locals visiting Mombasa and other tourist areas at the coast.
At the moment, SGR operates two daily trains (Nairobi-Mombasa), one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Travellers Beach Hotel and Club Sales and Marketing Manager, Wafula Wasawa said “Kenya Railways should introduce night passenger trains to increase the number of travelers.”
Wasawa noted the upward trend of domestic tourism should be sustained through quality tourism products and attractive packages.
He said “with the increased number of domestic visitors, the sector can comfortably be supported by locals during the off season.”
The hotelier said the players in the hospitality industry were encouraged to see Kenyans embracing domestic tourism, adding that because of this upsurge, most of the hotels recorded 100 per cent bed occupancy during last Christmas and New Year holidays.
“Domestic tourism has the potential to sustain this fragile but lucrative industry,” added Wasawa.
As the Easter season fast approaches, hoteliers and other stakeholders have a lot of expectations of a brisk business during this holiday that starts on April 19 to 22.
The Malindi’s Plan Hotels International General Manager, Alexander Zissimatos said hotels in the region have received reservations and bookings with local holiday makers who accounts for the highest percentage.
Zissimatos said hoteliers and other stakeholders have a lot of expectations of a brisk business during the forthcoming Easter holiday.
The hotelier said the hosting of the annual Malindi Multi-Cultural Festival during Easter Holiday will boost the number of both local and international visitors in the North tourist resort town.
He said Malindi and Watamu in North Coast have always been preferred holiday destinations for local tourists especially during school holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year festivities.
He added that hotels in the area strive to improve their products and that they are out to tap into the growing domestic tourism that has in the recent past began to thrive at the coast.
The hotelier contend that improvement of infrastructure, security and friendly policies are very essential for the industry, saying Kenya has the potential to become one of the attractive destination and global hubs for travel and tourism.
The Diani Reef Beach Hotel and Resort Managing Director, Bobby Kamani said the hospitality sector is making steady improvement with the number of local visitors growing significantly.
“There is need to continuously improve our products and services as future of the industry is promising due to increased enquiries from locals and international travel agents in traditional and emerging markets,” said Kamani.
By Mohamed Hassan