- The tourism industry is pulling out of its deep Covid-19-induced slump on the back of support programmes and strategies from the government and sector players.
- Last year, the sector earned nearly $1.5 billion (Sh204 billion), which is up 18.5 per cent from 2021.
Hotel and tourism industry in the country continued its recovery trend to pre-covid levels recording increased numbers of local and international tourists during Easter and the prior three months.
Various players told the Star that business was great during the festive period, witnessing at least 60 per cent of occupancy, mainly from local travellers.
Hemingways Nairobi managing director Richard Kimenyi for instance said, business on their side was great, especially on the food and beverage front where there were many celebrations within the Easter weekend.
“At Hemingways Watamu, the numbers were good as well, and was mostly residents booked. The occupancy rates were almost the same as the one recorded same period last year," Kimenyi said.
Targeting the April holiday break to further grow local tourist numbers, Kimenyi says they have put up kids programmes such as playgrounds to lure more families into their facilities noting that happy children create a positive atmosphere in the hotel, driving more visitors in the hotel during holidays.
PrideInn Hotels Nairobi properties also experienced a surge in both business and holiday visitors in the first three months to Easter this year.
According to the group, business visitors staying in the hotels accounted for about 60 per cent of the guests, compared to 40 per cent of holiday visitors.
It reported that PrideInn Azure and PrideInn Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre welcomed a significant number of business executives attending meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) events, reflecting the continued recovery of the business environment in the country.
“The majority of visitors to the hotels were domestic, a trend that highlights the resilience of the local market,” PrideInn Hotels group managing director Hasnain Noorani said.
“This was despite the challenges facing the Kenyan economy, including inflationary pressure, the elevated cost of doing business and the weakening shilling against the greenback.”
Noorani attributed the rise in business visitors to an increase in business activities in the country's capital amid ongoing recovery of the economy.
The increase was also on account of rising positive sentiments of Nairobi as a business hub and a host of MICE events.
On his part, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa managing director Bobby Kamani, echoed the aforementioned sentiments saying the hospitality establishments on the Kenyan Coast generally enjoyed a good Easter period.
This with an average of about 80 per cent occupancy, he said in part.
“However, compared to last year, we did slightly less occupancy since most schools only gave holidays for the actual Easter weekend,” Kamani said.
“We did however make up for this with an extremely successful January due to schools opening later than expected.”
TPS Eastern Africa notes they are steadfast and determined in efforts to get back on track after coming from Covid-19 disruptions.
The hotel recorded a recovery from foreign corporate and leisure segments during the second half of last year which complemented its growth.
"The Serena city hotels portfolio continued to secure high profile events and diplomatic delegations, further reinforcing the regional rebound in bookings, a trend we expect to continue in 2023 and beyond," TPS Eatern Africa said in a statement.
The hotel hopes to return to the pre-pandemic performance this year.
Similar growth was reported at the Leopard Hotel and Spa in Diani, with management hoping for even faster acceleration going forward.
The country's tourism industry is pulling out of its deep Covid-19-induced slump on the back of support programmes and strategies put in by the government and sector players.
Last year, the sector earned nearly $1.5 billion (Sh204 billion), which is up 18.5 per cent from 2021.
The sector players forecast this year’s earnings to increase further, depending on the continuation of the global vaccination campaign, and sustained marketing into traditional source markets like Britain and new ones in Asia.
They also reiterated plans on boosting numbers from the international market after consecutive drop in 2020 and 2021 to approximately 500,000 and 800,000 respectively.
Last year however saw a huge improvement in international arrivals of approximately 1.5 million.
Kamani said that he is optimistic this year will bring international tourism arrivals back to the pre-pandemic levels, hopefully to see more than two million arrivals annually.