Two weeks before international flights resume – starting August 1 – bookings for hotels in Kenya’s coastal region has gone up by 40 percent.
These August bookings are mainly by local tourists who can now fly from any point in the country since the resumption of domestic flights on July 15.
The bookings come amid tough regulations set by the government for hoteliers as they seek to make a comeback following months of closure due to lockdown.
Most hotels in the coast, it has now emerged, have already implemented the travel health and safety protocols spelt out by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Najib Balala led Tourism ministry.
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A spot check shows that Swahili Beach Resort and Jaracanda-Indian Ocean Beach Resort are currently operational. Diani, known for its high-end hotels has over the last few weeks been opening up slowly.
Sam Ikwaye, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers KAHC executive officer told the Star that though the bookings have spiked, a considerable number has opted to defer their bookings.
“The numbers for August have started to reflect but a number are those who agreed to defer their bookings instead of cancelling when the industry was closing down because of Covid-19,” he said.
About 150 classy hotels in the coastal city are now working hard to ensure they implement the health and safety protocols by August 1.
With the pandemic soaring by the day, the resumption of tourism has been seen as a local affair.
Skal Club is the world’s largest association that brings together tourism executives.
“Now it is purely domestic market. August is standing at 40 per cent but we are praying and working hard to get it to 60 per cent,” said Sylvester Mbandi, the former National Skal President.
Skal is the largest association in the world that brings together tourism executives from the world.
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The coastal region tourism sector is likely to survive through the pandemic in the fullness of time as more Kenyans seek to experience the feel of a beach destination at a time COVID-19 has ravaged the country.
With resumed operations of the SGR, more traffic to coastal beaches and hotels is expected to be seen in the coming months.