Local tourists flock to the coast for end-year festivities

Visitors at a hotel in Mombasa. The number of upcountry guests is rising. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Visitors at a hotel in Mombasa. The number of upcountry guests is rising. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi has literally gone to Mombasa. This is what hotels at the Coast are saying as the country heads to the Christmas holiday.

Since the beginning of this month, facilities in Diani have been registering a rise in visitors, with the majority of them flying in, driving or disembarking from the daily train service.

The surge in domestic holidaymakers has been attributed to the Madaraka Express train, which offers cheaper transport and faster speed.

PrideInn Group managing director Hasnain Noorani said they were registering good numbers.

He said many Nairobians come in families to take advantage of the long school holidays.

Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort general manager Siddharth Sathe said the hotel was also enjoying brisk business, owing to visitors from Nairobi and upcountry.

“Domestic tourism has uplifted the guest numbers. Our hotel has 90 per cent occupancy, mainly by local holidaymakers,” he added.

Sun Africa Hotels chief executive Mohamed Hersi said for the past three years, the region has been depending on domestic tourists from Nairobi.

“After the long electioneering period, Kenyans are coming to the Coast in droves for relaxation,” he said.

Diani Reef Beach Resort managing director Bobby Kamani said the hotel was packed to capacity due to an increase in local guest numbers.

In Watamu, Garoda Beach Resort resident manager Daniel Mwita said the hotel was busy due to local weddings. From December 20, he added, the hotel will be packed to capacity with holidaymakers mainly from Italy.

“We had closed the hotel in October and November, owing to low business. But we reopened on December 1.

The guest numbers are rising,” he added.