Hotel savours elevated star status to grow its guests numbers

Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Managing Director Bobby Kamani.

The recent elevation of Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa to five star status by the Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) will endear the establishment to more business from both local and international visitors.

Addressing media at the hotel, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa Managing Director, Mr Bobby Kamani said that they were ready for the elavated status and have put in great effort to invest in hotel infrastructure, hire some of the best human resources and put in place internationally accepted tourism products.

''We believe all these will help grow our revenue by two folds,'' Kamani said.

He said that generally, Kenyan tourism industry has made significant growth in the first quarter and the second quarter.

''In 2018, Kenya's 2018 tourist arrivals grew by 37.33 percent from the previous year to cross the two million mark for the first time, posting a significant growth in earnings to Sh157 billion. The earnings are 31.2 percent improvement from the Sh119 billion earned in 2017, according to our Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala,'' Kamani said.

Kamani who is also a member of the Coast Tourism Working Group said that the latest statistics show there were 2,025,206 tourists arriving compared with 1,474,671 international arrivals in the previous year.

The United States remained Kenya’s leading market, growing by 11.12 per cent with 225,157 arrivals.

''With the current ongoings,we remain upbeat that the second half of 2019 will be interesting as we see the Wild Beast migration that comes in July and attracts alot of both local and international guests.At Diani Reef, the bookings are looking good for the high season and we expect to be fully occupied compared to last year same time,'' he observed..

And in efforts geared towards diversifaction, Kamani announced that they shall soon be announcing a new product for retirees for both international and domestic tourists.

''We believe that this segment of our customers need to be taken care of. We have seen a trend of retirees from Europe and US stay with us for longer periods and we believe it is time make something for them to enable enjoy their stay in Kenya,'' the hotelier said.

Another product where the hotel has partnered with tour operators is the SGR Madaraka Express Holiday package which Kamani said has been good to the tourism industry especially at the coast.

''There has been significant growth in our visitors and revenue since we launched this product. We believe to see the numbers grow even by a double digit come the high season. Kenyans have started embracing the tourism products and this is because of the stories highlighted by the media,'' Kamani stated.

Kamani said that as a hotel they have not been left behind in sustainable tourism and have taken the lead to ensure environmental conservation by removing plastics in the products they purchase.

''We know the effects of plastic in our environment and since they are not quickly bio-degradable.At Diani Reef, we also participate in conservation of the endangered turtle and colombus monkey conservation efforts. We understand the significance of these animals to our ecosystem.We have to learn to co-exist with the wildlife for the benefit of our environment. Ecotourism is huge globally and this part of our diversification,'' he noted.

Elsewhere, Kamani urged the government to fast- track- its plans to ensure that the Dongo Kundu by pass that will help open up the South Coast is complete in good time.

''Without a good transport network for both road,rail and air we will not able to grow the industry as fast as possible.Kwale county has a big potential and we know the government is doing its best,'' Kamani said.