advertisement
Corporate

Tourism slows down at Coast over polls and security jitters

Holidaymakers from the UK visiting the Coast dropped by 4.2 per cent to 157,211 compared with 164,146  between January and October last year. Photo/File
Holidaymakers from the UK visiting the Coast dropped by 4.2 per cent to 157,211 compared with 164,146  between January and October last year. Photo/File 

The tourism sector at the Coast has slumped two weeks after the busy festive season due to worries over the March 4 General Election.

The eurozone crisis has also conspired to confine tourists to visit short-haul flight destinations.

Industry players said a string of grenade attacks in some parts of the country, the clashes in Tana and the Al-Shabaab threat are some of the factors that have plagued the sector in the recent past.

Bed occupancy for January is averaging at between 10 and 60 per cent.

In December, the Kenya Tourism Board released figures that showed that tourism at the Coast dropped by 30 per cent between January and October last year. The marketing agency attributed the slump to insecurity and the Eurozone crisis.

advertisement
 

Holidaymakers from the UK visiting the Coast dropped by 4.2 per cent to 157,211 compared with 164,146  between January and October last year while those from Italy declined to 64,965 from 77,990.

Tourist arrivals from France nosedived to 28,834 from 40,826 while those from Germany fell to 51,925 compared to 56,735 in the same period last year.
Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) chairman Mohamed Hersi said most hotels had low bookings just after a boom over the holidays.

Mr Hersi, who is also the general manager of Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort, added that the hotel currently had bed occupancy of less than 60 per cent compared to more than 70 per cent in the same period last year.

He, however, indicated that some hotels across the region were hard hit by lack of guests with others registering 10 per cent bed occupancy.

The MCTA official said charter flights from Europe to Mombasa stand at between 11 and 15  a week compared to 26 flights a week in the same period last year.

“The region relies heavily on charter flights and currently some airlines from Europe have withdrawn their flights due to low passenger numbers,” he added.

“In the wake of the eurozone crisis tourists prefer short haul destinations such as Egypt and Morocco or go to neighbouring countries like Spain,” noted AshniI Hotels marketing manager Paul Kurgat.

Serena Beach Hotel deputy general manager Edwin Chemisto attributed the slight drop in numbers to security fears and travel advisories against Kenya.

His Sweet Waters Tented Camp counterpart James Odenyo, however, said the industry could rebound in July if the General Election is conducted peacefully.

“Tourist bookings for the high tourist season are going on well at the moment. But all this will depend on how the country will conduct its elections,” he said.

advertisement