SURVIVAL

Staycations offer lifeline for struggling tourism industry

This can happen either in hotels, residences or airbnbs and are more chilled out than vacations

In Summary
  • With the current Covid-19 situation in the country, staycations are in some way the lifeline for the ailing industry.
  • The tourism industry, which has suffered a sudden yet savage blow, is counting on this surge in staycations to recover.
Hemingways Nairobi
Hemingways Nairobi
Image: COURTESY

The Staycation is a travel trend that has been lurking in the background of tourism for some time now.

With the current Covid-19 situation in the country, staycations are in some way the lifeline for the ailing industry.

The word is an expression deriving from the words “stay” and “vacation”. It refers to a holiday that someone spends in their own country or at home rather than traveling somewhere else.

Staycation’s popularity has peaked after the pandemic began at least due to the restrictions and risks involved in long-distance travel.

For instance, in 2020 the percentage of bookings made on Airbnb increased from one-third in February to over a half of all bookings in May.

Staycations can happen either in hotels, residences or airbnbs and are more chilled out than vacations.

The cessation of movement out of five key counties Nairobi, Kajiado,Machakos, Kiambu, and Nakuru on April 2 dealt a major blow to tourism.

Those who had made bookings had to cancel as the restrictions would not allow them to travel out of the area which was marked as disease infected due to the high number of Covid-19 infections.

Various travel agencies ; Bonfire adventures, Oribi expeditions, Bountiful safaris among others did not let this dull their zeal to restart travel.

They have come up with 'Lockdown staycation deals” in the five counties which will see people just have their holidays near home.

The offers are mainly at hotels and residences in Kajiado, Naivasha, Nairobi and Elementaita which are all located in the locked zone.

According to Sam Ikwaye, Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer, this deals are a creative way for the sector to ensure survival in the period.

“Many people in our industry had taken loans to service the post pandemic period and this still have to be paid therefore they can't afford to shut down, but be creative as possible to remain afloat,” said Ikwaye.

Peter Muli, a Nairobi resident says“I have booked to go to Kajiado this weekend to cool off as I needed a break from the city life and considering I cant leave the disease zone I opted for a staycation.”

Muli said the deals were affordable and the hotel he stayed at maintainedthe set Covid-19 protocols.

Mary Oluoch, a teacher, did her wedding last weekend, since she could not travel out of Nairobi she opted to book a staycation in Naivasha to celebrate her special day.

According to global travel-tech company, Triparound, staycations are a vital lifeline for the tourism industry.

The tourism industry, which has suffered a sudden yet savage blow, is counting on this surge in staycations to recover.

More and more luxury hotels, resorts, homestays and other players are designing staycation packages.

This could, in turn, control the damage of the struggling economy as well.

“We see an opportunity in the pandemic. We encourage our members to review their mode of operation and adopt the new ways of working and doing business to ensure they become resilient, competitive and profitable,” says Habil Olaka, National President Federation of Kenya Employers during a Coast General Meeting.

Mohammed Hersi ,Chairman Kenya Tourism Association on the other hand urged tourism players to ''hold on , pain ends."