Beach hotels in the coastal city of Mombasa and its environs are enjoying brisk business following a rise in domestic and international holidaymakers after a two-year hiatus, due to Covid 19 pandemic.
A spot check by KNA shows that most of the hotels are operating on 100 percent bookings for Christmas and New Year.
Hoteliers interviewed expressed optimism that the fragile tourism sector is once again looking up after a prolonged challenging electioneering period that has led to a decline in international arrivals.
Mombasa is a preferred holiday location for Kenyans and foreign vacationers alike eager to savor its beautiful sandy beaches and tropical ambience.
At Severin Sea Lodge Hotel Chairman Severin Schulte, said business had picked up during the December holidays as dozens of tourists continue to flood the resort town.
“Covid-19 was a challenge not only to Kenya but the entire world and we were forced to close our businesses because nobody knew what would happen,” Severn said.
Speaking to the media while marking 50th hospitality anniversary Schulte said they invented an online application for raising awareness on Covid 19 safety to the hoteliers and their clients.
He said establishments have stirred back to life and are registering good bookings as tourists flock back to sample the pristine sandy beaches.
“What has made us survive during the pandemic and stay afloat is Kenya’s domestic market and beautiful serenity of the country heritage,”said the German Hotelier.
He said grants from the German government during the pandemic helped in facilitating the restructuring of business operations.
Severin said his hotel is quite impressed with the high number of clients as both domestic and international visitors make their way to the coastal region for the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
German Ambassador to Kenya Sebastian Groth who graced the occasion said they are also increasing their flights from Germany to Kenya.
“Eurowings and Condor recently resumed three-weekly flights to Moi International Airport, Mombasa and Lufthansa is planning to increase its frequency to Jomo Kenya International Airport,” Sebastian Groth said.
“In 2019, before Covid-19, Kenyans received about 73,000 German tourists; the Ambassador said they project the number to rise to over 80 this next year,” he further stated.
Sebastian said six flights from Lufthansa, three flights from Condor and three flights from Euro wings a week and several other international flights are expected to bring more tourists to the region.
The coastal town of Mombasa has received a major face lift this Christmas through decorations courtesy of Mombasa Cement Company.
Tudor ward member of county assembly Samir Balloo said that the county of Mombasa has worked hard to ensure that there is security enforcement in the region during this festive season.
“I want to welcome all visitors to Mombasa because it is a safe place thanks to the county government who has enforced security in the region,” he said.
Balloo said that Kenyans have a new opportunity to celebrate Christmas the way it should be done after two years of Covid 19 pandemic.
“In the last three years we were held with Covid 19 and now we have gotten the opportunity to celebrate Christmas the way it should be done and that is why our sponsor who is Mombasa cement has helped us in decorating our streets by putting up Christmas trees,” he said.
At Makupa roundabout, there is also a Father Christmas who is giving lollipops to children, women and any person passing by as a way of showing love and celebrating together with them.
Balloo said that the whole idea was to bring a smile to people’s faces.
“We have a Father Christmas who is giving children and women passing on the road a lollipop to put a smile on their face. It is not something big but just to bring a smile on their face,” he said.
In Tudor, there is a home for elderly and a children’s home which Balloo said that he will visit just to ensure that they are also happy and celebrate the festival.
Meanwhile Security has been beefed up in the tourist resort city of Mombasa ahead of the Christmas and new-year festive season in anticipation of a high number of visitors.Mombasa county Police commander Stephen Matu says visible security will be in place alongside intelligence surveillance across the county before and after the celebrations.
The county police boss said the tight security measures were aimed at ensuring the safety and security of residents, domestic and foreign holiday makers and called on motorists and road users to abide by the rules and regulations.
By Hussein Hassan