Hoteliers project foreign tourist bookings to rise 10pc at peak season

Tourists at a beach hotel in Mombasa on June 28, 2015. FILE PHOTO |
Tourists at a beach hotel in Mombasa on June 28, 2015. Hoteliers project foreign tourist bookings to rise 10pc in November and December. FILE PHOTO |   NMG

Hoteliers expect international tourist bookings to increase by at least 10 per cent in November and December despite the August 8 General Election.

Last year, international tourist arrivals to Kenya by air and sea increased to 877,602 from 752,073 the previous year.

Kenya Coast Tourism Association chairman Mohamed Hersi attributed the projected 10-15 per cent winter booking growth to a positive image of the country in traditional and emerging markets due to improved security.

“During the peak period of November to December this year, we expect international bookings to surpass those of last year as more tourists are coming to Kenya as the destination is safer than the previous years,” he said.

He said leading tour operators from key European source markets endorsed Kenya during the ITB Berlin travel show in Germany last week.

Premier beach and safari products

Majority of holidaymakers prefer to visit the country due to its premier beach and safari products coupled with the local culture and heritage.

Mr Hersi, who is also the chief executive officer of Heritage Hotels, said the hotel group had engagements with tour operators from Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, India and the United States of America.

“In terms of business, this year’s ITB Berlin was much better for us, as we attracted interest from major tour firms from Europe, the US and Asian markets,” he added.

Diani Reef Beach Resort managing director Bobby Kamani said the hotel attracted business from China, Russia and Iran during the Berlin fair.

He noted that their marketing team also had business deals with tour operators from Germany, India and UK markets.

“During the high season, we expect to receive more visitors compared to last year as Diani is safe, the warm weather, the beaches and quality service to guests,” he said.

Lake Nakuru Lodge marketing director Joseph Muya said he had business deals with tour operators from Germany, UK, US and France at the Berlin show.

“After the General Election, we expect to receive more wildlife enthusiasts coming for game drives at Lake Nakuru Park. Others are interested in visiting Lake Naivasha,” he explained.

Over 40 exhibitors

More than 40 Kenyan exhibitors participated in the ITB Berlin travel show, which ended on Sunday.

The Kenyan delegation included hoteliers, tour operators, travel agents, airlines, counties and tourism agencies.

Exhibitors from the country showcased beach and safari products, culture and heritage, hotels, lodges and tented camps among others.

County governments that displayed their tourism products in the Berlin travel event were Kwale, Turkana and Uasin Gishu.

Hotels included Sarova Hotel Group, Heritage Hotels, Lake Nakuru Lodge, Diani Sea Lodge, Mada Hotels, Giraffe Ark and The Boma.