The Hospitality industry in the country faced a boost during the Christmas season led by increased room booking from 60 percent in December 2015 to 80 percent in December 2016, a 20 percent boost.
Hotels in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties cashed in on roaring business as many Kenyans flocked to the region for Christmas and New Year’s Day, majority of the tourists being locals from across the country.
Sam Ikwaye, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers’s (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer, said some hotels were fully booked during the periods, adding that most of them had occupancy rates of between 70 and 80 percent over Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Domestic tourism seems to have started to take root in the country because in the previous years, most hotels depended on foreign tourists for survival.
“We must appreciate that domestic tourism boosted hotel guest numbers during the festive season as international visitors were very few,” said Ikwaye.
Last year, stakeholders in the domestic tourism sub-sector called on the government to increase its budgetary allocation to local tourism marketing, in bid to stop over reliance on international travelers, a move which was taken up positively and it is seen to be bearing fruits. Kenya’s domestic tourism sector was less supported, compared to the international component which in the end made it difficult for the sector to achieve its full potential.
Kenya has one of the biggest and most diverse tourism industries in East Africa, with offerings in a range of niches including the meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE) segment and safari ecotourism. However, in recent years’ challenges had arisen for the sector that negatively affected the country’s economy, including two high profile terrorist attacks. Following the attacks, a raft of security advisories were issued from countries that traditionally made a large percentage of Kenya’s target market for tourism, putting pressure on visitor numbers and hospitality revenues.