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North Coast hotels re-open amid expectation of tourism boom

Hotels in the North Coast region of Kenya re-opened at the weekend with high expectations that the resumption of international flights would bring good fortunes to the tottering hospitality sector.

The  Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers in the region was upbeat that the industry would be revived following a four-month slump occasioned by the new coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic that forced Kenya to close its airspace from international flights.

With the resumption of flights from selected tourist markets Saturday, the Association’s Chairperson, Ms. Maureen Awuor  told journalists that some hotels had started receiving guests, although most of them were open for domestic tourism as international tourists were yet to start streaming in.

“Most hotels have re-opened, but international tourists have not yet arrived,” she said, adding, “Those that are open are dealing with domestic tourists,” she said at her Ocean Beach Hotel in Malindi  today.

A survey conducted by the Kenya News Agency  on Monday revealed that many hotels had re-opened, although some proprietors were still putting final touches on their premises in readiness for a full-blown tourist inflow.

The Diamonds Dream of Africa Malindi resorts, which are owned by international hotel chain Planhotels, reported a boom on the first day of resuming operations, with an initial 60 percent bed occupancy  on Saturday.

A press release from Plan hotel Hospitality Group’s communication desk said the Planhotel Malindi resorts – Diamonds Dream of Africa, Sandies Malindi Dream Garden and Sandies Tropical  Village – reopened to both domestic and international guests from Saturday.

“Occupancy started at 60 percent at the weekend, and Alexander Zissimatos, the General Manager (GM) is delighted that the re-opening is so positive,” the press release read, noting that  Zissimatos had hoped the trend would continue for the rest of the year.

According to the press release, Diamond Dream of Africa, which is a member of the Small Luxury Hotel of the World (SLH), was incorporating the ‘Stay Safe, Stay Small’ initiative offering enhanced health and detailed safety guidelines launched by SHL for all 520 member hotels in 90 countries.

“Diamond Resorts Malindi have prepared for the re-opening with the highest safety standards. This performance-based cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention programme helps hotels minimize risks associated with infectious agents and biohazards,” the release noted.

Noting that the Covid-19 situation was unprecedented and would shape the way people travel in the future, the hotel chain said the hygiene initiative, cleanliness standards and Quality Assurance, as well as Best Practice Guidelines would be a major contributor in regaining the trust of travellers.

“In addition to GBAC accreditation, Planhotel Malindi has initiated a 24-hours vacated room turnaround programme. After the last guest has stayed and left, no one, including our staff will enter the room for 24 hours,” the press release quoted  Zissimatos as saying.

By  Emmanuel  Masha

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