Fri. Apr 19th, 2019

Tourist numbers increase ahead of Christmas

Tourist numbers have surged by 20 percent at the coast this festive season, pushing hoteliers into overdrive as a “successful” year that witnessed no major disruptive events ends.

The ensuing competition for numbers has seen hotels, especially those from the South Coast, introduce free transportation from the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Miritini terminus and Moi International Airport to their premises.

Sunny weather, pristine sandy beaches, Swahili cuisine, bird watching, excursions at Mombasa Old Town, Haller Park, Fort Jesus, Tsavo East and West National Parks, and Shimba Hills Game Reserve are among attractions that pull tourists to the region.

“There is a significant increase in number of international holidaymakers by 22.4 percent compared to last year following an increase in number of chartered, international direct flights and local daily flights received in Mombasa,” said Mr Victor Shitakah, PrideInn Hotels Coast regional manager.

Tourism and hospitality industry players have attributed the growth to improved security through 2018.

The hotels are, however, facing stiff competition from cottages and apartments charging relatively lower prices compared to renowned beach hotels.

In Kwale County Kaskazi Beach Hotel is among the facilities which have introduced free transportation from both SGR Miritini terminus and Moi International Airport to the hotel.

“As festive season kicks in, we have lined up different strategies to attract more domestic and international tourists. For instance we are ferrying our visitors from SGR to our hotel,” the hotel’s official Daniel Ogechi said.

At Travellers Beach Hotel, which is currently enjoying more than 60 percent bed occupancy, Sales and Marketing Manager Wafula Waswa attributed the high number of visitors to marketing strategies initiated by the Kenya Tourism Board and other players in the sector.