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Low tourist bookings affecting business in Malindi

11 October 2013, 16:04 Bob Ndwiga

Malindi - Small scale traders in Malindi have gone without an income for the last two months due to the closure of hotels as well as low bookings in the few hotels that are still open. General trade in the tourist resort has also been affected with restaurants and night clubs recording some of the worst sales in years.

The traders are now calling on the government to undertake a study to ascertain the reason behind low bookings in the hotels.

Consolata Ogutu, the Chairlady of the Baharini Women Association, said the closure of hotels in Malindi has affected their business by almost 100 percent.

“We sell very little these days due to the closure of hotels such as the Blue Key, Coconut Village, Stephanie Sea House and Malindi Beach Hotels,” said Consolata Friday at her Tropical Village Hotel stall.

She said that even with some of the hotels still open, the bed occupancies had fallen to less than 40 guests per week and that meant competition for sale of handcrafts and safaris at the beaches had become overwhelming.

Consolata said that the beaches next to various hotels at the Casuarina and Silversands beaches were now overflowing with traders, beach boys and young children begging from the few tourists who are patronising the beaches.

She urged the Tourist Police Unit officers to intensify patrols to reduce the number of idlers at the beach as they have been harassing the few tourists there.

“We are seeing many young people some of whom may have dropped out of school to come and beg from tourists. It is embarrassing to the few number of tourists entering the beaches that beggars are on the increase,” said Consolata.

More than 600 out of the 1 000 stalls selling handcraft at the various beach access roads have been closed as traders abandon them to seek incomes elsewhere due to the low number of tourists at the hotels.

Restaurants in Malindi are also recording very poor incomes and a survey has revealed that some restaurants are going for even two nights without serving a single dinner.

Night clubs are also recording the same low flow of customers and most waiters and barmen are spending time fighting mosquitoes instead of selling to customers.

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