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Hotels urged to offer incentives to lure domestic tourists

Tourist establishments in the coastal region have been urged to offer modest hotel rates to attract domestic tourists in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stakeholders contend that the tourism sector is suffering from the absence of international visitors hence the need to win domestic tourists to keep the sector afloat.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ‘One World Adventures’ Limited, Solomon Wao underscored the need to boost domestic tourism to help the sector stay afloat in the wake of the pandemic that has heralded unprecedented global economic crisis.

Solomon Wao, the CEO of One World Adventures Limited, a tour and travel firm when he addressed the press in Mombasa. Photo by Hussein Abdullahi.

He said the tourism industry has to undergo inevitable changes as part of the ‘new normal’, including a drastic drop of hotel rates that should go hand in hand with emphasis on hygiene and redefine the business environment.

“It’s incumbent upon tour and travel firms and hotel industries to try to reinvent themselves to stay attractive to domestic travelers,” he said.

The CEO observed that there is need to lower rates for accommodation and food to lure travelers back to the coastal counties of Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu, whose revenues majorly depend on tourism.

Mr Wao, a veteran tour and travel operator, said stakeholders need to have a domestic stimulus plan with socio-economic impacts that mirrors the government’s tourism stimulus package.

In the government’s 2020 comprehensive rescue package the tourism sector was allocated Sh 6 billion to assuage their plight as the industry suffered the most due to the restricted movements and termination of international flights.  “We need to nurture partnerships to awaken the fragile sector from a long quite low season induced by the Covid-19 outbreak and have tourists flocking back to our destinations,” he said.

He said through a concerted effort by stakeholders the sector can bounce back and help revive the local economy, stimulate job creation and spur development.

The CEO reiterated the need to reinvigorate the sector by attracting domestic visitors with spending power and help revive the local economy.

He was speaking at the Reef Hotel Mombasa, when ‘One World Adventures’ Ltd, a leading tour and travel agency opened new offices in Mombasa accompanied by travel consultants, Sharon Kirongo and Charlotte Mwakidimi.

Ms Mwakidimi noted tour and travel firms need to offer discerning tourists value-added packages and take them to hidden destination gems that could hardly be discovered in mass tourism.

She rooted for a domestic tourism campaign for Kenyans to embrace the new normal and explore what the country has to offer by supporting local tourism.

By Hussein Abdullahi

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