Why Rift Valley hospitality sector faces gloomy Christmas
The recent unprecedented rise of lake water levels and the raging Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic have connived to deal a heavy blow on tourism in Rift Valley, a key sector in the region.
Even after Kenya opened its airspace in August after closing it in March, foreign tourists kept off the country, forcing hotels to slash rates to attract locals who visited lodges and camps in small numbers.
The rising waters of Lakes Naivasha, Nakuru, Bogoria, Turkana and Baringo, have on the other hand submerged several hotels, not only hitting the investors hard but also serving to keep would be local visitors away.
The hot water geysers which Lake Bogoria is famous for were covered by the rising waters, forcing those who annually visit for pilgrimage to stay away.
In absence of foreign tourists, the lake teem with locals, especially Indians who believe that the hot steam treat various types of skin diseases.
As the year ends, the picture is gloomy as most hotels in Rift Valley remain empty while others remain closed since March.
Hoteliers in Masai Mara are expecting few visitors, mainly locals, during the Christmas and New Year holidays because of Covid-19 which has disrupted travel.
“We have not witnessed this before. Even during terror attacks, Ebola and various travel advisories.
The situation is being exacerbated by fresh stringent measures to tackle the pandemic in Europe and the US,” said Theophilus Shumwe, general manager of Tipilikwani Camp.
A new strain of the virus which has been reported in UK and South Africa, he said would ensure that the hospitality sector remain in the woods for longer than anticipated.