The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has been requested to increase the Madaraka Express train frequencies between Nairobi and Mombasa for tourists visiting the coast. Since last week, holidaymakers have had to seek alternative transport as the popular trains were fully booked.
After President Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in last week, hotels in Mombasa have been experiencing a rise in visitor numbers following waning of political uncertainty. Last Friday, KRC MD, Atanas Maina, confirmed that the trains were fully booked due to huge number of people travelling between Nairobi and Mombasa.
Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) Chairman, Victor Shitakha, called on the Kenya Railway Corporation to increase the train frequencies from two to five daily from both destinations to allow more tourists to visit the region. He said since the Madaraka Express was introduced in June, it had boosted tourism in Mombasa and Tsavo East and West National Parks. “During the low season, hotels stayed afloat thanks to the trains.” He said the trains were popular because they were cheaper and quicker.
Shitakha, who is also the Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels CEO, said hotels would no longer be empty between April and June as the trains would bring leisure and business travellers to Mombasa. Currently, he said, Mombasa hotels registered occupancy of between 60% and 70%, up from between 30% and 40% last month.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Tsavo and Amboseli Circuit Chairman, Willy Mwadilo, also called for an increase in frequencies for more wildlife lovers to be able travel to the parks. “The trains have boosted visitor numbers in the national parks as tourists coming from Nairobi drop at Voi and travel to Tsavo East and West for game viewing.