Coastal tourism circuit rebounds after lockdown ease
The coastal tourism circuit is breathing a sigh of relief as resorts start receiving guests after the government eased travel restrictions imposed in March to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, beaches remain closed as gatherings remain a danger to the spread of Corona making favourite spots such as Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach and Mombasa Beach remain vacated with no public visits.
But hotels have started recording bookings, albeit at a slow phase, signaling a sector rebound in the last quarter of the year.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) estimates that at least 40 per cent of hotels and resorts have reopened after shutting down for months, with some recording more than 50 per cent bookings.
“With the phased reopening (of the economy) we expect a recovery in domestic tourism, which accounts for 53 per cent of Kenya’s hotel room occupancy,” KAHC Coast branch Executive Officer Dr Sammy Ikwaye said.
Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) chair Victor Shitakha says the sector is on a slow rebound but is hopeful that the multi-billion sector is set for a recovery in the third quarter of the year.
“Most of our facilities are only getting guests on weekends. We have very low business during week days. In fact, the resumption of international flights has not seen increased bookings as yet,” said KCTA chairman Victor Shitakah, who is also the general manager of Flamingo by Pride Inn.
Shitakah said the association’s members had reopened for business after aligning themselves to the new set of protocols laid out by the Health ministry to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Most hotels at the Coast are formulating favourable packages to attract domestic tourists.
Qatar Airways is among the ones that operate 14 weekly flights, while KLM also operates four flights per week to Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Diani Reef Hotel managing director Jotham Mwangombe says the hotel that opened on July 16 is now recording bookings from both local and international clients.
The hotel opened its doors on after months of lock down and recorded about 15 guests, four being international guests whom booked two days ago.
The official says, the hotel has made all precautionary measures in line with Covid-19 guidelines to cushion tourists from the virus.