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Kenya: Tourism Picks Up

Kenyan tourism on the rise with strong winter bookings

Sep 02, 2009

Nairobi — Charter flights from Europe to Mombasa are expected to soar to 30 per week between November and December following encouraging tourist hotel bookings.

Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association chairman John Cleave said the charter flights are set to shoot to 30 per week compared to 20 or 22 per week as tourists stream for winter bookings.

Mr Cleave expressed optimism that the industry would fully recover to the levels of 2007 between January and March next year as large number of foreigners from Europe pour in to savour the Coast sunny weather.

"Due to promising bookings from Europe and other continents we expect the charter flights from Europe to Mombasa to increase from 20 to 30 per week," the MCTA boss said.

He added: "In November and December hotels at the Coast will have a large number of foreigners as they escape Winter for the soothing tropical weather."

Mr Cleave, however, appealed to the government to boost the Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) with more marketing resources to lure back tourists to the country.

Serena Beach Hotel general manager Charles Muya said the hotel is expecting foreign tourist bookings to rocket to 85 per cent between November and December from 50 per cent.

Mr Muya attributed the increase to winter as normally many European tourists come to the Coast in December to soak up the sun rather than stay in cold weather.

"Currently the hotel has more than 50 per cent of foreign tourists but we expect the number to go up in November and December.There are signs that full recovery is just around the corner," the hotel official said.

Temple Point general manager Isaac Rodrot said hotels in Watamu and Malindi have between 40 and 70 per cent of foreign guests, adding that the bookings are expected to leap to more than 80 per cent towards December.

Mr Rodrot added that hotels in Malindi have received a boost from the Italian market while those of Watamu bolstered by British tourists.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast branch chairman Titus Kangangi called on the government to find ways of solving the power and water shortage problems which he addded might impact negatively on the industry.

Mr Kangangi said it would be an embarrassing situation for the hotels to be packed with guests only for them to grope in the dark owing to frequent power blackouts.

"Power and water are very essential to the hospitality industry and certainly there is no way hotels can operate without such provisions," the KAHC official said.

He added: "If we are to achieve sustainable tourism then there is urgent need for the authorities to sort out such perennial hitches. Holiday makers are yearning for quality service and not excuses."

Kenyan tourism on the rise with strong winter bookings
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