FULLY BOOKED

Coast hotels record good Easter break bookings

Some major hotels say they have recorded occupancy levels similar to post-Covid times.

In Summary

•Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers(KAHC) CEO Mike Macharia says this holiday's hotel bookings are good and the tourism sector is fairing on well.

•Some major hotels say they have recorded occupancy levels similar to post-Covid times.

Domestic tourists at a Malindi hotel/
Domestic tourists at a Malindi hotel/
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Hotels at the Coast have recorded improved bookings this Easter holiday, an indication of the sector’s gradual recovery from a two year slump due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hoteliers have said the numbers in Diani, Watamu, Malindi and Kilifi which host various tourist facilities have been considerably impressive. 

Some major hotels say they have recorded occupancy levels similar to post-Covid times.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) CEO Mike Macharia said the bookings are good and the tourism sector is fairing on well.

Hemingways Watamu was by Thursday afternoon 100 per cent booked until Monday 25 according to its website. 

Bookings at Leopard Beach Resort was above 80 per cent by Thursday, according to residences manager Joan Ndungu.

She said the hotel is back to its pre-Covid performance and expressed optimism of a better performance.

"This years'occupancy is more or less similar to the one we recorded in 2019. We are doing well," Ndungu said.

Baobab Holiday Resort in Mombasa reported a 60 per cent booking for the holiday 

"Easter is looking pretty decent for most hotels along the coastal line including us," Baobab management said.

Last week hoteliers projected an occupancy rate of between 60-70 per cent for facilities in Mombasa, and between 70-80 per cent for Diani with Coast hotels counting on Nairobians for a boost.

Nyali's Sun Africa Beach Hotel & Spa has recorded bookings of between 80 to 100 per cent for the Easter weekend with majority being domestic visitors.

“We are doing very well. We are at per our pre-Covid times and that is very impressive. Our outlook for this year is positive," said Catherine Chuani, director sales and marketing, Sun Africa Hotels.

Chuani said just like the previous years, the domestic market came through significantly for the tourism sector.

The SGR Madaraka Express which connects Nairobi to Mombasa was fully booked over the Easter weekend.

A one-way plane ticket to the Coast from Nairobi now goes for about Sh14,000 from a low of Sh5,000, signifying the high Easter demand. 

Fly 748 that provides both charter and scheduled services, has partnered with hotels to sale complete travel and accommodation packages.

This year’s Easter season projections were up by about 40 per cent compared to last year, giving hope to the industry that was almost brought to its knees by the pandemic.

A two-year visitor drought led to closure of key tourist facilities countrywide.

At least 1.2 million full-time jobs were lost last year on the impact of the pandemic, according to the tourism ministry.

This came with a Sh152.4 billion loss in labour income as employers in the industry cut operations on low visitor numbers.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers(KAHC) said the easing of Covid restrictions had improved travel for both international and domestic visitors. 

“We are looking forward to a busy season. We want to take advantage of the long school holiday and the favourable weather,” KAHC executive officer Sam Ikwaye said on telephone.