TOURISM

Kenyan hotels feted in World Travel Awards

Tourism projected to grow to 47.3 per cent next year

In Summary

•According to World Travel Awards (WTA), the Malindi based hotel was rated high for its world-class spas fitted with latest technology.

•After contracting 71.3 per cent in 2020, Fitch Solutions forecast a solid rebound in international arrivals in 2021, growing by 32 per cent to reach a total of 776, 000.

Guests enjoy a beach walk near Sai Rock Beach Hotel, Mombasa/
LEISURE Guests enjoy a beach walk near Sai Rock Beach Hotel, Mombasa/
Image: BRIAN OTIENO

Kenya's Diamonds Dream of Africa has been named the best inclusive resort in Africa by the World Travel Awards

The Malindi-based hotel was rated high for its "world-class spas and latest technology".

"Mvua African Rain Spa offers guests at Diamonds Dream of Africa colours and images of the African landscape in a relaxing and welcoming environment, which invites them to savour a unique and precious experience,’’ WTA said.

Established in 1993, WTA acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all key sectors of travel, tourism and hospitality. 

It nominated Diamonds Dream of Africa alongside Kenya’s Baobab Beach Resort & Spa and three Zanzibar hotels; Hotel La Gemma dell ‘Est, Hotel Rui Palace and Tui Blue Bahari.

The awards come at the time when the tourism sector is slowly recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Data from Tourism Research Institute shows the industry lost about 1.2 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic's shocks, translating into financial losses of Sh192 billion in direct labor earnings, and $4.48 billion to the entire tourism sector value chain.

The slowdown in Kenya’s tourism sector affected the overall economic performance last year, with Kenya posting a negative growth in 20 years.

Accommodation and food service activity dropped by 57.9per cent, a sharp deterioration from a 9.9 per cent growth in the third quarter of 2019.

Even so, things are improving, and Christmas booking show a positive trend.

A spot check by the Star last week showed Baobab Beach Resort which runs three luxurious properties– The Baobab, The Maridadi, and Kole Kole, in Diani (South Coast) is fully booked between December 22 and January 3, the majority being domestic tourists from upcountry.

The management attributes this to eased Covid-19 travel restrictions by the government and ongoing global vaccination campaign. 

After contracting 71.3 per cent in 2020, Fitch Solutions forecast a solid rebound in international arrivals in 2021, growing by 32 per cent to reach a total of 776, 000.

It further projects a stronger growth of 47.3 per cent next year followed by further double-digit growth through to 2025 to take international tourism arrivals to 2.2 million.

“The recovery in tourism arrivals will be reflected in international tourism spending, which we forecast will rise from $790mn in 2021 to $2.5billion (Sh275 billion) in 2025,” according to ratings firm Fitch Solutions.

The economic impact of the pandemic has led the government to cut the budget for tourism spending, which could impact the market's recovery.

Reports suggest that the tourism budget will be cut by 30 per cent  for the next financial year.