POST-COVID-19 STRATEGY

Malindi tourism investors eye domestic market for recovery

Urge Kenyans to take up their special offers and enjoy the hospitality at the Coast.

In Summary

• Nearly 40 per cent of hotels and resorts in the coastal town opened early this month, with restrictions to ensure the safety of holidaymakers. 

• Some have started holding events to attract both local and international tourists after the government opened the airspace on August 1. 

Tourism investors in Malindi are offering special packages to attract more Kenyans as they plan post-Covid-19 revival. 

Nearly 40 per cent of hotels and resorts in the coastal town opened early this month, with restrictions to ensure the safety of holidaymakers. 

Some have started holding events to attract both local and international tourists after the government opened the airspace on August 1.  

On Sunday, Lamalindina Hotel and Restaurant in Malindi held a beachwear fashion show featuring a Nairobi-based designer. It was the first show since the coronavirus hit the country in March. 

Jane Wangare, manager at Lamalindina Hotel, said the collaboration with Mrembo Africa Collection was to showcase products made by  Kenyans. 

Wangare said their aim is to use events to promote Kenyan talent and boost the tourism sector.

“We sat down with the management and wondered why not organise a show to bring Malindi alive after people stayed indoors for almost six months due to the pandemic,” she said.

She said the idea was to give a chance to people to go out to have fun. 

Wangare said they are encouraging Kenyans to take up their offers and enjoy the hospitality they have to offer. Presently, Lamalindina has a three-day half board offer at a half price.

Guests wash hands, sanitise and wear masks while in the public areas at the hotel to avoid the spread of the virus, she said. 

Phillip Matara, a tour operator said, they were trying to bring tourism back to normal after the devastation of the virus. 

For now, he said, Malindi is safe as hotels were strictly following the Ministry of Health guidelines. 

He thanked the Kilifi administration for the sensitisation campaign on how to control the spread of the virus. 

Carla Fiscarelli, an Italian who lives in Malindi said the fashion show was an amazing event. 

Fiscarelli said she prefers to stay in Malindi to Italy because it's safer than her home country, which was hard hit by Covid-19.

Renowned hotelier Phillip Chai said tourism has been hard hit but he does not expect international tourists soon even after the skies were opened.

Chai said it's time to package tourism to attract Africans from Ethiopia, South Africa, Burundi among others.

“Hotels that are open are observing the Covid-19 protocols. We are training our staff and enforcing the health guidelines,” he said.

He said the era of depending on the foreign market is long gone and called on all resorts to begin focussing on the domestic and regional market.

Majid Swaleh, the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kilifi county chairman, said they have hope that business would soon be back to normal. 

(edited by o. owino)