Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Coast hotels brace for brisk trade

Iranian tourists pose for a picture with a giant tortoise at the Larfage Eco-System Haller Park in Bamburi, Mombasa. Charter flights to Mombasa have resumed and hotels are looking forward to a boom in business this month. Photo/FILE

Iranian tourists pose for a picture with a giant tortoise at the Larfage Eco-System Haller Park in Bamburi, Mombasa. Charter flights to Mombasa have resumed and hotels are looking forward to a boom in business this month. Photo/FILE 

By MATHIAS RINGA [email protected]

Hotels at the Coast anticipate a busy time this month as business from the domestic market soars due to the school holidays and Mombasa International Show.

The surge in domestic tourism complements the high tourist season that kicked off last month with the resumption of charter flights from Europe.

Schools close on Friday and families usually pour into the Coast for the holidays.

The Mombasa International Show, which opens on August 29, has attracted 20 international and more than 100 local exhibitors.

Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) chairman Mohamed Hersi said company executives, parastatal heads and top government officials flock to Mombasa to take part in the five-day show.

Charter flights

“We expect brisk business as people from Nairobi and other parts of the country are pouring in,” he said.

Mr Hersi, who is also the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort general manager, said the hotel, which currently has a bed occupancy of 70 per cent, will be full next week.

“We expect a full house next week due to an influx of local and international tourists,” he said.

“The number of holidaymakers from Europe is on the rise after the resumption of charter flights,” he said.

Tamarind Village manager Victor Shitakha said the hotel, which had a bed occupancy of 80 per cent, will also be full house next week.

Mr Shitakha said domestic bookings had shot up. “Local bookings have soared in anticipation of the school holiday,” he said.

“International guests are also on the increase and we expect roaring business the whole month,” he said.

Pride Inn Sai Rock Beach Hotel general manager David Langat said the hotel was fully booked.

Mr Langat said families from Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Machakos and Kisumu made early bookings.

“Families, educational tours, corporate firms will ensure we have a full house,” he said.

Former Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch chairman Titus Kangangi said hotels in Malindi, Watamu and Diani will also be busy.

Mr Kangangi, who is also the Platinum Hotels managing director, said the industry expected brisk business.

“We have seen a big transformation in domestic tourism as lots of Kenyans now go on holiday with their families, unlike yesteryears,” he said.

“Locals have realised that the hotel industry offers services to international and domestic tourists,” he said.

Mr Kangangi called on the Kenya Tourist Board to educate more locals on the need for a holiday.

He said Coast people could also be encouraged to travel upcountry for their holidays.

Moi International Airport manager Yatich Kangugo said the airport was expected to be busy this month due to the resumption of charter flights from Europe.

Mr Kangugo also said he expected domestic arrivals to soar as families from Nairobi and elsewhere head to the Coast.

“Most chartered airlines from Europe are expected to resume their flights to Mombasa this month,” he said.

“We also expect local arrivals to go up as parents and business executives head to the region for a well-deserved holiday and to attend the Mombasa show,” he added.

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