Western Kenya hoteliers lost Sh700m on poll anxiety

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

Hoteliers in Western Kenya lost Sh700 million as a result of uncertainties linked to the August 8 General Election.

Lake Victoria Tourism Association chairman Dedan Owalo said on Tuesday that many guests cancelled their visits to facilities located in Nyanza and Western in the period leading to the elections.

“International tourism numbers went down tremendously with nearly all local stakeholders reporting a drop of between 30 and 50 per cent depending on the region,” said Mr Owalo.

The lobby said it compiled estimated losses from a few days to the elections and after  the stalemate that followed the announcement of President Uhuru Kenyatta as winner.

Mr Owalo said that most hotels have resorted to reducing their work force.


“It might take considerable time for the industry to stabilise and make meaningful returns,” said Mr Owalo.

Western Kenya Hospitality Leaders Association chairman Robinson Anyal said hoteliers made losses, especially after bookings were cancelled or events postponed.

“The industry thrives on peaceful co-existence of people,” said Mr Anyal.

“We expect to be busy in September and throughout the year. The western region thrives on business visitors, tourist attraction sites here are not fully developed.”

But Kenyans will return to election mood following a ruling by Supreme Court ruling on Friday to nullify the victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

“We believe that what the Supreme Court did is for the good of Kenyans because more than anything else you can’t do business in an environment that is not peaceful,” said Mr Owalo.

The western circuit comprise of 14 counties is heavily dominated by domestic tourism and experiencing a lot of international arrivals with vast tourist attraction sites.

The western region circuit starts from the border of Maasai Mara covering the entire western region.