Kisumu’s hospitality sector bounces back as economy re-opens
HOTELS: Nyanza’s hospitality industry is slowly coming out of the woods as business begin to pick up for the first time in more than seven months of Covid-19-induced darkness.
This comes even as the country continues to battle surging cases of Covid-19 which still threatens to erode the gains so far made by the industry even as it sets its eyes to end the year on a high note.
Hotel owners agreed that the sector has started picking up, saying this has been demonstrated in the last few months after local flights resumed with tourists streaming back to the region.
The pandemic brought to a halt a number of activities in the region as those employed by the sector including taxi drivers struggled to keep their operations going.
Several hotels in Kisumu had remained empty with their parkings, which were always full of cars all becoming empty even as others closed down.
Yesterday, however, a spot check at a number of hotels in Kisumu as well as Kisumu International Airport established that the industry is slowly getting back to its feet.
A number of players expressed optimism amidst the gloom of the pandemic which continues to ravage the region.
Kenya Hospitality Leaders Association chairman Robinson Anyal said local tourism is at the epicentre of driving the change the industry is witnessing.
He said that a few hotels have already started hosting conferences which have been the main source of revenues for most hotels in the region.
“Majority of our guests are domestic tourists and that is what we have been working with to set our rates, “ he said, adding that almost 100 per cent of the income is now from local tourists.
Anyal told Business Hub that since late July when they opened, their main focus has been recovering while relying almost 100 per cent on domestic tourists.
He noted only a handful of hotels in the region that closed due to the pandemic are yet to reopen their doors. William Ouya, another hotelier and an official described the development as gradual.
At the airport, several taxi drivers who have always made a kill by ferrying tourists to hotels and also around the town also claimed business has been picking up.
John Owino, a driver attributed the development to the reopening of the economy by the president. –Viola Kosome