Kenyans throng Coast to welcome New Year

Tourism: Armed police patrol Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach, popularly known as Pirates, on December 27.
Tourism: Armed police patrol Jomo Kenyatta Public Beach, popularly known as Pirates, on December 27.

COAST hoteliers have recorded booming business in this year’s Festive Season as many resorts in the region are currently fully occupied.

Domestic tourists have made up over 70 per cent of the bookings while the remaining 30 per cent are foreign guests.

The majority of Kenyan holidaymakers flocked to Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu and Mtwapa to enjoy themselves.

Some were youthful guests while others came as families filling tourist resorts and even the local guest houses.

Some had difficulties getting accommodation since there was no room.

A spot check in some of the hotels in Malindi and Watamu showed the hoteliers were very busy taking advantage of the Christmas and New Year season.

The Jacaranda Hotel, for example, which is located in Watamu with a capacity of 450 guests, simply has no space for extra guests.

Jacaranda management said they have guests from Nairobi and other parts of the country who booked in for their holiday.

Jacaranda General manager Daniella Tirito and his Marketing manager Petro Mastela termed the Festive Season as a big success for their business.

Tirito said they were working with local tour operators like Bonfire and Rupu Travel, who had helped them get many locals to their hotel.

He said they also had reservations by private guests through their website.

“Domestic tourism is the future of the industry, the Italian market is becoming challenging – in the next three-to-four years it will be finished – and the only alternative are the locals,’’ he said.

The Jacaranda GM said they did not expect such a huge number of locals.

He said the hotel had 350 rooms, with an extra 12 apartments and 15 villas, all of which were full.

Other guests who have booked in at the hotel, he said, include a few from Denmark, Germany and the USA.

“The secret of getting such a big number of local tourists is setting up a reasonable price for the locals during Christmas and New Year, we placed a special all-inclusive package of Sh9,000 per person and children free of charge,’’ he said.

At African Dada Resort in Malindi, which also targets locals, the proprietor of the hotel, Ahmed Hassan, said his establishment was fully booked to January.

“Business is good, despite all the challenges we faced previously of insecurity and travel advisories; we are 100 percent booked, 95 percent of them are locals from Lamu, Kilifi and Nairobi,’’ he said, during an interview at the hotel.

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