Occupancy levels in Kenya’s capital city have risen to the 2007 levels once again, following two years of downturn in the market. In spite of the opening recently of the Crowne Plaza, which has added another 250 rooms and suites to the market, occupancy levels now are at par again with the pre-election and pre-global economic crisis period, bringing smiles to the faces of hoteliers, which a year ago looked rather gloomy.

Meetings, conferences, conventions, events, and incentives now constitute a major market for Kenya, estimated to soon be reaching well over 20 percent of the overall tourism arrivals, signaling that Kenya has found her way back into the good books of the world’s leading tour and travel agencies, which had stood the country down over fears of safety and security only two years ago.

One leading hospitality source in regular contact with this column spoke already of “constraining factors for further growth” when discussing available aircraft seats and capacity, calling on airlines to bring in larger planes and increase frequencies of their flights to Nairobi and Mombasa. He was also asking the Kenyan government to make extra efforts to attract new airlines, in particular from the south and Far East and also from Russia and other former Soviet Union countries to commence operations into Kenya.