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Tourist resorts facelift aids Kenya’s efforts to attract global visitors

Signage of Watamu Hemingways Resort and Residences in Malindi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Signage of Watamu Hemingways Resort and Residences in Malindi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ongoing multi-billion shilling investments by global hospitality brands are making Kenya more visible as a prime home of tourism activities.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) chairman Jimi Kariuki said investors were using their wide knowledge on the needs of today’s traveller to refurbish existing facilities and putting up new ones — helping Kenya enjoy a higher rating as a must-visit destination.

“It is about an emotive and memorable experience that enables tourists to make repeat visits as well as refer others. Tourists want activities on the streets, cultural rituals and sporting activities, among others, that give them memorable moments about Kenya,” he said.

Mr Kariuki said tourists’ arrivals for 2018 had witnessed a 10 per cent rise on last year’s numbers and expressed optimism that domestic tourism that last year recorded 4.5 million bed nights was also on an upward spin.

The KTB boss spoke at Aspire Centre, Westlands in Nairobi when hospitality group Hemmingways Collections hosted chief executives and corporate directors to a cocktail to introduce Watamu Hemingways Resort and Residences that underwent a Sh1.2 billion refurbishment.

The small bouquet hotel’s group chairman, Dicky Evans who first visited Kenya in 1969, said Watamu captured his imagination as the best place in the world that has enjoyed high global TV rating attracting hundreds to its doorstep.

He said the facility now offered tourists an array of activities from dancing with locals to sports fishing, visiting Watamu Marine Park as well as underseas diving among others.

The Watamu Hemingways upgrade saw 21 luxury apartments added to the facility that is on sale on a leaseback arrangement with the group.