Harvest season for hotels at the Coast - Daily Nation

Harvest season for hotels at the Coast

Wednesday December 26 2007

By MATHIAS RINGA

Tourist hotels at the Coast are making a killing with the high number of visitors who have opted for the tropical environment to spend their holidays.

From tourists enjoying sunbathing along swimming pools, to those lazing around the palm-fringed white sandy beaches and others out for fun drinks to quench their thirst, the Coast is a haven of activities.

A spot check by the Nation established that most of the hotels in the region had good bookings for Christmas with majority of visitors being foreign tourists.

According to the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch chairman, Mr Mohamed Hersi, most of the hotels in Mombasa have over 90 per cent bookings for this holiday.

Mr Hersi, who is also the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort general manager, said his hotel recorded the same level of booking. 

Enjoying boom

He said that foreign tourists took the lion’s share of bookings adding that this has been the trend during most of the other holiday seasons.

Majority of the guests, he noted, come from United Kingdom while the rest were from Germany and other European countries.

“During this Christmas season, we are enjoying a boom in business as tourists from Europe came for the holidays in large numbers more so in beach hotels at the north Coast,” he said.

Mr Hersi said all hotels are decorated to suit the Christmas mood with carols filling the air as well as lots of entertainment, drinks, nice food and literally anything guests require to make their celebrations complete.

At Travellers Beach hotel, the general manager, Mr Freddie Kiuru, said they are fully booked for the Christmas season adding that their guests are mainly Germans and the British.

“Our hotel has 100 per cent bookings with majority coming from Germany and the United Kingdom. Business is very good just like last year. Majority of our guests are foreigners, with some being regular visitors,” added the hotelier.

And at Tropical Village hotel in Malindi, the hotel recorded 100 per cent bookings from Christmas up to New Year.

The hotel’s assistant general manager, Ms Agnes Mkawajomba, said the hotel was full with majority of the guests coming from Italy while others were from Germany.

“We have a lot of guests from Italy who came to celebrate Christmas as well as New Year here. They like our beaches, good service, delicious food, drinks and all their Christmas requirements which make them feel at home,” added Ms Mkawajomba.

She said the hotel had rolled out live band programmes, shows, acrobatic entertainment and games for children to enjoy their Christmas to the maximum.

At Sun N’ Sand Beach Resort, general manager Andimilleh Makumbi said the hotel was full with foreign guests bookings at 95 per cent while the rest are locals.

He said that the General Election had no effect at all on foreign tourist bookings as they were aware that the country enjoys stability.

“Our guests are just enjoying their Christmas holiday just like any other year. They feel secure here and that is why foreigners are the majority,” explained the hotelier.

He, however, noted that the hotel received a few cancellations of domestic guests when the date of the elections was announced to enable them cast their votes.

Mr Makumbi said that there were Christmas parties, magic shows, donkey and camel rides for their guests.

The hotel was decorated to match the mood of the season coupled with Christmas carols to capture the essence of Christmas Day.

About 80 per cent of the guests currently in the hotel, said Mr Makumbi, were from the United Kingdom while the rest are from Germany, France, Poland and the Czech Republic among other European countries.

Foreign guests

Plaza Beach hotel, general manager, Mr Benson Kilonzo, however, said the Christmas bookings were not good enough compared to last year when they recorded 100 per cent occupation by visitors.

Mr Kilonzo noted that the hotel had between 60-70 per cent bookings with majority being foreign guests.

He said that during this Christmas celebrations, there were less bookings from domestic tourists and attributed this to the General Election slated for tomorrow.

“Last year, we had 100 per cent bookings, but this Christmas the number of guests has dropped to about 70 per cent. So the polls have, to an extent, affected Christmas bookings,” he said.

Do very well

Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) chairman, Mr Kuldip Sondhi, said beach hotels at the Coast had bookings at more than 90 per cent.

“On Christmas Day, hotels do very well. In fact, we have got more tourists than last year. But we have few domestic tourists as locals are gearing towards the elections on Thursday,” he said.

Mr Sondhi, who is also the Reef hotel director, added that the hotel had more than 90 per cent bookings over Christmas, with foreign guests at 85 per cent.

At the hotel, most of the guests booked were from France while the rest are from the United Kingdom and Germany.

Just like any other entertainment facility, Reef hotel was decorated with lights, from the beach to the swimming pools with music playing among other activities to keep the guests amused.