MOMBASA, KENYA: Tourist hotels at the Kenyan Coast are expected to enjoy brisk business as Easter festivities sets in.
Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) chairperson, Victor Shitakah in an interview said that several hotels, lodges, tented camps, and holiday homes were reporting good business.
'' It is however only for a short period during the Easter holidays and then occupancies will drop as we approach the low season,'' he said.
At Sarova Taita Hills and Salt Lick Lodges in Taita Taveta County, General Manager, Mr. Willie Mwadillo reported that they have a number of inquiries coming in with Tanzanian visitors making the most of the numbers they expect to host over the long Easter weekend.
''We have visitors coming in from Northern Tanzanian circuit areas of Arusha, Moshi, and Tanga alongside those from Kenyan upcountry and Mombasa,'' he said.
Mwadillo said that at the moment occupancies at their two units, which have a combined bed occupancy of 220 beds, stands at 56 per cent for Sarova Taita Hills Lodge and 78 per cent for the Salt Lick Lodge respectively.
Industry players said that they are seeing light at the end of the tunnel with an improved and steady growth of the domestic tourism numbers.
Managing director of Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa, Bobby Kamani said that the sector is making steady growth with the number of visitors from the East African region increasing.
''We need to relook at investing into the future with frequent hotel upgrades if we are to keep on attracting more visitors,'' Kamani who is also a member of the Kenya Coast Tourist Working Group said.
Hoteliers have expressed their satisfaction with the significant increase of domestic visitors, which they attributed to aggressive marketing, friendly packages and the introduction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
At the newly established Nyali Golf View Residence, inquiries for staying at its exclusive fully furnished apartments is looking good, hotel official who spoke to Standard Digital says.
''We are likely to record full occupancy here during the Easter period,'' Goldwyne Consult, the firm managing the property said through its CEO, Dr. Benedict Mutuku.
Most of those interviewed called on the Kenya Railways management to introduce more trains frequency in a bid to increase the number of locals visiting Mombasa and other tourist areas at the coast.
Now, SGR operates two daily trains (Nairobi-Mombasa), one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Plaza Beach Hotel General Manager, Mr. Denis Gwaro said that they are headed for full house occupancy mostly with domestic tourists taking up the lions share.
''We have guests coming in from around the region including Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti,'' Gwaro said.
Travellers Beach Hotel and Club Sales and Marketing Manager, Wafula Wasawa said: “Kenya Railways should introduce night passenger trains to increase the number of travelers.”
Wasawa noted the upward trend of domestic tourism should be sustained through quality tourism products and attractive packages.
He said, “With the increased number of domestic visitors, the sector can comfortably be supported by locals during the off season.”
The hotelier said the players in the hospitality industry were encouraged by seeing Kenyans embracing domestic tourism, adding that because of the upsurge, most of the hotels recorded 100 per cent bed occupancy during last Christmas and New Year holidays.
As the Easter season fast approaches, hoteliers and other stakeholders have many expectations during the April 19-22 holiday.
The Malindi’s Plan Hotels International General Manager, Mr. Alexander Zissimatos said hotels in the region have received reservations and bookings with local holidaymakers who account for the highest percentage.
Zissimatos said hoteliers and other stakeholders have many expectations during the forthcoming Easter holiday.
The hotelier said the hosting of the annual Malindi Multi-Cultural Festival during Easter Holiday would boost the number of both local and international visitors in the North tourist resort town.
He said Malindi and Watamu in North Coast have always been preferred holiday destinations for local tourists, especially during school holidays, Easter, Christmas and New Year festivities.