Thursday, 17 August 2017 16:25

Peaceful polls bode well for Kenya tourism

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Hotels, lodges and tented camps in Kenya are expected to receive more international guests from next month, following peaceful polls conducted on August 8.

According to the new Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) Chairman, Mohammed Hersi, all the safari destinations and beach resorts at the coast enjoyed calm during and after the general election.

“The peace and tranquillity experienced in the country after the polls is a major boost to tourism in Kenya. Many observers had anticipated violence, but Kenyans chose to maintain peace,” he said.

The KTF boss noted that more international wildlife enthusiasts were expected to flock to the Maasai Mara National Reserve thanks to the wildebeest migration spectacle. Hersi, who is also the Sun Africa Hotels Group CEO, said lodges and camps in the Mara had between 60% and 80% occupancy during the elections, and added that more visitors were expected to pour into the wildlife hotspot next month.

Hersi said Keekorok Lodge in the Mara currently has 80% occupancy and, following a jump in bookings, is expected to be fully booked by September.

He said Sun Africa Beach Resort in Mombasa was expected to be busy from next month following resumption of charter flights from Italy and Poland. “International tourist arrivals from Europe to Mombasa are set to increase after the elections due to charter operations from Italy, Poland and the German market.”

Hersi is optimistic that the country will see a rise in international tourist numbers bolstered by key markets such as the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, France, China and India.

Kenya Tourism Board Chairman, Jimi Kariuki, said tourism would improve after the peaceful elections due to aggressive marketing campaigns in both traditional and emerging markets. “Kenya is safe for holidays as security in the country has improved significantly. That we had peaceful polls has given our country a positive image.”

The KTB boss said he expected more international arrivals from across the world to visit Kenya as a result of some international airlines increasing flights to Nairobi.

Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa Managing Director, Bobby Kamani, said international tourist bookings were on the rise in the wake of peace at the south  coast after the elections. He noted that the hotel, which currently has 40% occupancy, expects guest numbers to increase to between 50% and 70% from next month.

“We are experiencing an increase in bookings from the US, UK, China, Germany and India from September onwards,” he said.

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort General Manager, Siddharth Sathe, said currently the hotel had 45% occupancy, with 20% of those international guests. “In July, we enjoyed 75% occupancy, but guest numbers dropped during the elections. We expect an increase in bookings between now and September.” Sathe said the hotel was hosting guests from the UK, UAE, Italy and Russia.

Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer Manager, Kevin Muendo, said the tented camps had 70% and 30% occupancy respectively. He added that, after the elections he expected international wildlife lovers coming to watch the wildebeest migration to increase from next week.

Sarova Mara Game Camp Manager, Kioko Musyoki, said the facility had 80% guest numbers and that he expected more tourists to come to the Mara in the coming weeks.

He noted that the camp had guests from Australia and the UK, but the majority were from China.

Source: TU

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