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Kisumu reaps big as Devolution Conference head to Kakamega

COUNTIES
By Kevine Omollo | April 11th 2018
A view of Imperial hotel in Kisumu city.

The hospitality industry in Kakamega and Kisumu is preparing for a windfall ahead of the devolution conference slated for April 23-27.

Most hotels are fully booked with two weeks still to go to the conference that will be held at Kakamega High School.

Industry players, including tour firms, are working round the clock to meet the high demand for their services ahead of the event.

Kisumu County has the bigger share of hospitality infrastructure in Western region. Industry players said improved infrastructure and increased marketing had given them an advantage over neighbouring counties.

With the region’s main airport located in Kisumu, some of the guests are expected to access Kakamega County through the lakeside city.

The business community in Kakamega termed the conference an opportunity to revive tourism in the Kenya.

Most hotels have recorded high bookings according to Kakamega Traders Association chairman Ben Oundo.

"We will use the conference to market ourselves and improve our earnings," he said.

Kakamega County Hoteliers Association chairman William Owuya said more than 65 hotels and guest houses were ready to host the delegates.

"Utalii College is retraining hotel staff to equip them with the latest skills ahead of the event," said Mr Owuya, who also chairs the committee organising the conference.

Kakamega Tourism Executive Kassim Were said plans to host about 6,000 expected delegates would be finalised soon.

"We will not accommodate all the delegates. Some will be hosted by neighbouring counties," he said.

In Kisumu, Acacia Hotel General Manager Dan Mwangi confirmed all 93 rooms were booked for the period of the conference.

“Apart from accommodation, we are looking at other activities that may come with the conference,” he said.

Impala Eco Lodge is also fully booked.

“It has been a busy month for as we prepare for the event. We will also utilise our other facilities - Impala Sanctuary and boat rides - given our location near Lake Victoria” said General Manager Robinson Anyal.

Jumuia Hotel's manager Emmanuel Waya said 90 per cent of their 70 rooms were booked by last week.

"Today, we are fully booked. This is a big boost for this region," he said.

Caroline Ayugi, a manager at travel agency K&M, said: “We have been receiving many inquiries. We are packaging what we'll showcase in Kisumu and beyond."

Kisumu Director for Tourism Tom Ouko said they wanted to ensure that all stakeholders benefited from the event.

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