John Kanyi – General Manager Eka Hotel, Eldoret
What inspired you to join the hotel industry?
All along I have been a fan of touring and adventure. In the process, I encountered a lot of international tourists, who I used to admire.
So when time came to select courses I wanted to pursue after high school, tourism was my number one priority.
After high school, I proceeded to Maasai Mara for a job as a casual as I waited for the outcome of our exams and the admission to university.
I was then admitted at Maasai Mara University to study tourism management.
After graduating, I joined a block of hotels as a management trainee for one year and moved to Sarova Hotels where I started as an outlet manager and rose to a head of department in charge of food and beverage in one of their lodges.
In a span of five years, I moved to Silver Spring Hotel for three years and later joined Eka Hotel Nairobi in 2012, and rose to assistant general manager from 2014 to 2019.
I also acted as a General Manager for the hotel for six months before taking over Eka Hotel, Eldoret as pre-opening general manager for one and a half years.
How is tourism in Eldoret compared to other places you’ve worked in?
Overtime, the focus in tourism has been majorly in three key areas; wildlife, sun and sand at the coast, and a bit of cultural tourism centered on one region.
However focus has changed and we have realised the huge potential we have in other regions.
North Rift is one of the key regions that focus has changed to. The potential in this region is enormous, ranging from cultural diversity, nature, wildlife, sports, medical and agricultural.
Tourism may not have been well developed before, but with the current push and desire from national to county government to develop this region, it is emerging to be the next frontier in tourism.
What are the challenges facing tourism in Eldoret?
The challenge at the moment is purely lack of awareness and poorly developed attractions. However this is currently changing for better.
How has the pandemic affected tourism in Eldoret?
Source markets have been closed both locally and internationally. As a result, the business has been highly affected.
However, it is a challenge pushing us to the next level of service delivery. Hospitality will survive beyond this pandemic, but only the smart, and innovative ones will sail through.
Despite this effects as a hotel, we have expanded our scope of market source and focused more on what we can offer to our local market.
This has worked wonders for us and has enabled us to keep the ship afloat. The future is bright and the industry will emerge stronger with better approaches to service delivery.