Resorts focus on local market to revive tourism

investors keen on diversification to improve sector instead of relying on the international market

In Summary

• Tamu marketing manager Giovanny Ferraro said they decided to rebrand and focus on the domestic market, which is doing better than the Italian market.

• Operate all ear round to attack Kenyan residents, Africans. 

Tourism players in Malindi and Watamu have expressed hopes of full recovery after the high tourism season began early this month. 

Already, some resorts in the two towns have revealed positive projections with good bookings.

A spot check at some of the resorts showed that they have opened and are relying largely on the domestic market. 


More tourists have been booked in Watamu compared to Malindi but investors are confident the sector will be revived. 

On Sunday, there was a ceremony for the opening and rebranding Tamu Beach Resort and Spa formerly the Stephanie Sea House in Casuarina near the Exclusive Lion in the Sun.

Tamu marketing manager Giovanny Ferraro said they decided to rebrand and focus on the domestic market, which is doing better than the Italian market.

Tourists turned up in large numbers for the cocktail dinner and enjoyed the cool breeze at the resort, which is just three minutes’ walk to the ocean.

Ferraro said their target was not only rich tourists but also locals who want to see the beauty of Malindi town. 

He said they have several projects to increase the tourism numbers by concentrating on the domestic market.

Previously they used to operate on a seasonal basis but they will now be operating throughout the year as they target local visitors, Ferraro said.


They will be fully booked at the end of this month mainly by tourists from Nairobi who are the major clients, he said.

“The problem we face now is because of the change of the resort's name change.  People have difficulties knowing it and locating it from the airport once they arrive." 

Ferraro said the Italian market closes during low season, citing it as the reason they cannot rely on it.

Other hotels that depend largely on the domestic market in Malindi include Blue Key, White Elephant, Kilili Baharini, Dream of Africa, Dream Gardens Tropical, Sandies Village, Driftwood, Scorpio Villas, Ocean Beach Resort and the Sea View Resort. 

In Watamu, however, different resorts have diverse markets, including Italians, Hungarians and Czechs, among others.

Jacaranda Beach Resort group of hotels chairman Pasquale Tirito said they are projecting a good season.

 “The season has started well, the climate has also helped us a lot as the sun attracts many tourists," he said.

Tirito said the occupancy is growing and they expect the number of foreign tourists to grow between October and December.

“We have just started normally. August is the time when Italians go for holidays." 

Apart from Jacaranda, there is Aden Resort, Twiga Beach Resort, Jumbo, The One, Seven Islands, Turtle Bay, Temple Point resort, Garoda, Hemingways, Garoda and Lily Palms, among others.

Edited by R.Wamochie 

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