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Airport-based hotels, transporters eye boost from flights resumption

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Hoteliers and other service providers based at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) have welcomed the resumption of flights, saying it will help them recoup their investments and hand back jobs to staff.

Five-star Four Points by Sheraton is anticipating brisk business come August 1, when international flights are due to resume.

The hotel’s general manager, Vivek Mathur, said they had digitised client-hotel transactions, reducing reliance on manual processes, while sitting areas had been redesigned to conform to the social distancing regulations.

“We are focusing on special details for domestic tourists including stay-cation and are targeting air passengers transiting to other countries since JKIA is a regional hub,” he said.

He added that the hotel has been staying afloat by offering services to cabin crew of cargo airlines and special flights ferrying returnees.

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“This kept us in business during these tough months. With the announcement of the reopening of the airport, we hope to receive more guests and given that the Mara migration season is not over, we might see some tourists flying in,” he said.

Transport provider Pride Drive general manager Imtiaz Harunani said investors in the airport-to-hotel transfer business are eyeing higher demand, as more travellers will seek to use vehicles that can guarantee safety from the virus.

“Interest in corporate transport is likely to rise as firms will be looking for alternatives for their staff against packed public transport services fearing coronavirus spread,” he said.

“With lifting of the lockdown and flights resumption, we are anticipating an increase in demand for car hire services.”

Hemingways Hotels has also reopened its two facilities in Nairobi and Mombasa after it re-arranged its dining area and trained its entire staff on the required hygiene and sanitation.

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