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Hotels overwhelmed as thousands flock to Mombasa

Thousands of ecstatic local and international visitors thronged various hotels and tourist establishments in Mombasa and other coastal areas to celebrate the Easter holiday.
Despite the current unprecedented hot weather in the coastal region, most of the seafront hotels, apartments and restaurants are enjoying brisk business following massive bookings with local visitors taking the lion’s share.
Events such as water sports, beach football, camel riding, family dinners, traditional dances and live band gigs have been organised to entertain holidaymakers.
Mombasa and other coastal tourist areas are the preferred holiday destination for many Kenyans and foreign visitors to savour the beautiful sandy beaches stretched out from the South to the North coast and the tropical ambience.
Hoteliers expressed their satisfaction with the significant increase of domestic visitors which they attributed to aggressive marketing, friendly packages, introduction of Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) and increased local flights.
Madaraka Express Passenger train service (SGR) remained one of the most preferred means of transport for holidaymakers coming to the Kenyan Coast for Easter festivities.
Acting Managing Director of Kenya Railways Phillip Mainga said owing to increased demand for passenger train service on SGR over the Easter weekend, they were forced to increase a total of eight economy class and two first class coaches to the Inter County and Express trains.
Tourism stakeholders also hailed the prevailing political stability, adequate security and improved infrastructure as some of the factors that have significantly contributed to the upsurge in both local and foreign visitors.
Some of the visitors who spoke with Kenya News Agency (KNA) said Kenyans should embrace the concept of domestic tourism and explore various historical sites and other popular destinations.
Police have ensured that there was adequate security at the beaches, churches and other popular spots being frequented by visitors and other revelers.
Mombasa County Commissioner Evans Achoki confirmed that security has been scaled up and patrols intensified to guarantee safety of residents and visitors.
“Business during this Easter holiday is extremely good as we enjoy 100 per cent bed occupancy,” said Travellers Beach Hotel and Club Sales and Marketing Manager Wafula Waswa.
He said 90 per cent of the guests at the hotel were locals from various parts of the country and attributed this to efforts by stakeholders to encourage more Kenyans to embrace domestic tourism.
Restaurants and small food vendors at Bamburi public beach are also recording booming business as thousands of revelers jammed the area to enjoy the Easter weekend.
The recent statistics by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife showed the country received more than 2 million tourists in 2018 and earned a record Sh157 billion, a 31.2 per cent increase compared to Sh119 billion in 2017.
According to Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary NajibBalala, the number of international tourists that visited the country in 2018 rose to 2,025,206 from1, 474,671in 2017.
Balala added that the domestic visitors increased from 3,645,243 in 2017 to 3,974,243 last year.
Meanwhile, Coast Regional Commissioner John Elungata said the tourism sector is set to receive a major boost when the construction of two key projects are completed in August this year.
Elungata said the Sh460 million waterfront project in Mombasa will be a major boost to the tourism industry and will also provide locals and visitors with a world-class recreational facility.
He said the facility is an added product to the tourism sector as the country already offers a multifaceted destination combining exotic beaches, national parks and historical sites.
He also mentioned the construction of Sh1 billion modern cruise ship terminal at the port of Mombasa.
The Administrator said the terminal which is expected to be completed by August this year is seen as a game changer and part of the measures the government has put in place to promote tourism at the coast which accounts for over 60 percent in the country.
Elungata was speaking in his office when he received First Secretary (consular services) of High Commission of Canada Mika Kosaki Oldham.
Ms Oldham said it was her first time to visit the coast region since her posting and that she chose to spend Easter holiday with her family at south coast to savour its beautiful sandy beaches and scenic attractions.
By Mohamed Hassan

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