Inside Politics

Masai Mara hotels slash rates, offer special discounts as peak season ends

Friday, September 11th, 2020 15:00 |

As the annual tourism peak season in Masai Mara Game Reserve enters home stretch, hoteliers are slashing rates and giving special offers in desperate overtures to attract more tourists.

They are doing so even as foreigners continued to stay away more than a month since the reopening of tourist sites and the country’s airspace.

Most lodges and camps have introduced special offers and packages for tourists which include flights from Nairobi, for full board minus beverages, local and domestic departures taxes, two game drives a day, return airstrip transfers among other incentives.

At Ashnil Mara Camp, the July-September package has been reduced for visitors who plan to visit the high end hotel next month when about 2.7 million wildebeests will be returning to southern Serengeti to calve through Mara and Sand Rivers crossing points.

Currently, visitors are paying Sh53,100 a night, Sh73,900 for two nights while extra nights and single room supplements attract a fees of Sh20,700 and Sh6,000 respectively.

The management says it will next month charge Sh49,700 a night, Sh67,300 for two nights and Sh17,500 and Sh4,600 for extra nights and single room supplements respectively.

Tom Were, the general manager of Ashnil Group of Hotels says the packages excludes park entry fees, drinks and beverages, expenses of a personal nature and tips and extras incurred at the Mara unit.

Special package

“Our special package cover full board without beverages, flights from Nairobi, local domestic departures taxes, two game drives a day and return airstrip transfers,” he told Business Hub, adding that all Covid-19 protocols should be observed by visitors.

Children below six years, he said will be given free accommodation and rates are inclusive of all statutory and airport taxes.

“Depending on the prevailing conditions, rates are subject to change without notice and to availability of the time of booking,” said Were.

He, however, expressed disappointment over non-arrivals of foreign tourists since the hotel opened its doors last month after four months closure due tp the Covid-19 pandemic.

Were partly blamed the non-arrivals on US travel advisory to its citizens to avoid non-essential travels to Kenya and East Africa because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

“The advisory which was widely circulated internationally was a blow to us.

We hoped to receive tourists from different parts of the world before the end of the season but as things the situation is now, it will end without us hosting them,” he said.

He said post Covid-19, it would probably take more than two years for the tourism sector in the country to rebound and asked the government to give investors in sector tax holidays among other incentives.

Hoteliers in world famous game reserve are, however, optimistic that the declining numbers of infections would see foreign tourists beginning to visit in the next peak season or even during the November-February winter in Europe.

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