RECOVERY

Tourism steadily making a comeback, Kenya Association of Hoteliers says

The hotel industry is recording increased bed occupancy following the resumption of domestic flights

In Summary
  • The association said hotels are picking up by 20 per cent and number is set to increase by Saturday when international flights resume
  • A protocol acceptable by UN, World Travel Organisation, World Health Organisation and World Travel and Tourism Council has been put out by hotels
SATISFIED: Kenya Association of Hoteliers CEO Mike Macharia during the stakeholders meeting at Sarova Stanley yesterday.Photo/Karuga Wa Njuguna
SATISFIED: Kenya Association of Hoteliers CEO Mike Macharia during the stakeholders meeting at Sarova Stanley yesterday.Photo/Karuga Wa Njuguna

 

The hotel industry is steadily making a comeback following the resumption of domestic flights on July 15, the Kenya Association of Hoteliers has said.

The association’s CEO Michael Macharia said business, particularly in tourist hotels at the coast and Nairobi had gone up by 20 per cent.

 

He added that lifting of a partial lockdown that had restricted movement in and out of the capital Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa had contributed to the growth in hotel business.

“When flights started taking off, there was a bit more activity. Now, we are picking up by 20 per cent. Hopefully, by Saturday when international flights resume, we may see more in terms of tourism,” stated Macharia.

There was a ray of hope in the tourism and hospitality sector on July 6 after President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted a partial lockdown that had restricted movement in and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera counties.

Kenya Airways among other local airlines resumed domestic flights on July 15 after implementing safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  Kenyan Transport Minister James Macharia flagged off the first flights from Nairobi heading to Mombasa and Kisumu.

International airlines on the other hand will resume flights on August 1.

Speaking on Citizen TV, Macharia said hotels in Diani, Mombasa and Kilifi are currently recording increased bed occupancy though not what they were hoping for.

Lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions increased the prospects for the resumption of domestic tourism.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala indicated that the sector had lost Sh81.8 billion since the country confirmed its first case of the virus in March. Major hotels, lodges and tourism destinations had been shut due to lack of visitors.

“It may be a bit early to call it a rebound even though we see are seeing a lot of movement in the domestic tourism circuit,”said Macharia. 

He added that they have put out a protocol acceptable by UN, World Travel Organisation, World Health Organisation and World Travel and Tourism Council to safeguard hotels.

 “We are sure our places are safe. We are confident that our customers will be safe when they visit we cannot achieve 0 per cent safety but what we have done is enough to curb the spread of the virus in our hotels,” he said.

Macharia asked tourists not to have any doubts about the safety of Kenyan hotels and lodges.