Economy

Hotel prices fall as Covid travel restrictions bite

tours

Local visitors relax at a pool in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The prices of rooms in major hotels have fallen by up to a third ahead of the Christmas festivities due to the Covid-19 restrictions that have disrupted travel.

A spot-check across hotels including the EnglishPoint, Travellers, Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa and Crowne Plaza at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi shows that room rates had dropped compared to last year as hoteliers try to woo travellers.

Luxury beach hotel, EnglishPoint in Nyali had given customers a 20 per cent discount and is charging Sh24,800 per person a night while Travellers Beach Hotel has also reduced prices by 40 per cent to charge Sh19,000 single room a night.

PrideInn is charging Sh15,250 per person sharing on half board and Sh18,800 per person sharing for the new whole day dining concept. Last year’s rate was Sh20,500 per person on half board, representing a 25.6 per cent drop.

The price cuts pile more pressure on an industry that has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and lost up to Sh111.59 billion ($1 billion) in revenue between January and October when numbers of foreign visitors fell by two thirds due to travel restrictions.

“We have embraced a very flexible pricing strategy this year based on length of stay and number of rooms per family. Our rates are much lower than last year and so is the occupancy,” Ann Peggy Ashira, PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort Mombasa general manager said.

“This festive season rates - between December 23 to January 2- at all our properties are lower than 2019 by between 10-25 per cent depending on the room type booked…the daily themes and offerings have not been scaled down this year versus 2019,” said Sarova managing director Jimi Kariuki.

Tourism ministry data shows that international visitors fell to fewer than 500,000 in the first 10 months from 1.7 million in the same period last year, knocking Sh110 billion off revenues that had been predicted to reach Sh147.5 billion. Tourism industry earned Kenya Sh163.5 billion last year.