Hotels start receiving international bookings after lift of advisories
14 July 2015, 09:56
Mombasa - International tourism inquiries for the Coast region have increased tremendously a month after the UK lifted its travel advisories, hoteliers have said.
Tourism players are now upbeat that by December, the number of international arrivals in the country would have gone higher compared to last year.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) said they have started receiving bookings ahead of this year's high season.
Speaking in Mombasa town Monday, KAHC Coast executive director, Sam Ikwaye said they expect to see thousands of tourists flocking the region this season.
“We are hoping to receive very many international tourists this summer. We have already seen an increase in the number of inquiries and bookings made,” said Ikwaye.
He said the UK travel advisories that were imposed last year May, after the increased wave of terror attacks, had a negative impact on tourism which is the backbone of Coast economy.
“During this period when we had advisories in place, we lost over 70 percent of international arrivals. We were majorly depending on domestic and conference tourism,” said Ikwaye.
He said other western countries which have not lifted their advisories to Kenya should emulate UK because the insecurity problem has now been resolved.
The US President, Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya in the next few weeks is also expected to boost the tourism sector in the country, he said.
Obama is expected to address participants during the sixth Global Entrepreneurship Summit which will be held from July 25-27 at KICC.
Ikwaye said that Obama’s visit is expected to open up Kenya tourism sector as many US citizens and other global tourists will be coming to Kenya during and after his visit.
In the last one year, Kenya’s tourism sector has been struggling after many western countries advised their citizens not to visit the country following the wave of Al Shabab attacks.
The 13-month travel advisory led to closure of over 20 hotels and laying off of over 2 000 hotel workers due to bad business.
Hotels that survived were depending on conference tourism and had to redesign packages to attract domestic and regional tourists.
Ikwaye said they hope the direct flights from abroad to Mombasa will resume soon.
He said charter planes and cruise ships, which used to bring thousands of guests to Mombasa, ceased making trips to the region due to insecurity.
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