Efforts to promote domestic tourism are yielding fruit following the increase in the number of locals at hotels in the coastal region in this festive season.
Most of the hotels have recorded 100% bookings with locals taking the lion share.
The significant increase of domestic visitors has been attributed to aggressive marketing, friendly packages and the introduction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
“If this trend continues the industry can comfortably be sustained by domestic tourism, “said Ben Mwilu, the Managing Director of Panorama Hotel in Mombasa.
A visibly delighted Mwilu said the players in the hospitality industry were encouraged to see Kenyans embracing domestic tourism, adding that his hotel registered 100% bed occupancy during the festive season.
The former Chairman of Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) Zul Harunani lauded the government for allocating Sh1 billion during the 2017/2018 Financial Year for marketing and promotion of tourism industry.
Harunani said the country should put more efforts towards the promotion of domestic tourism which he said has kept most hotels afloat following the declining of international visitors.
“Domestic tourism has the potential to sustain this fragile but lucrative industry,” added Harunani who is also the Managing Director of a five star Shehnai Restaurant.
He gave an example of Malaysia which despite being ranked the 9th most visited country in the world, has put more attention towards promotion of domestic tourism.
“Recent statistics from that country shows over 50% of hotel bed-nights were occupied by domestic tourists,” said Harunani.
However, a number of hotels in Mombasa and other parts of the Coast have experienced a slight drop of bookings for the New Year compared to the Christmas period.
The General Manager of the PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort Mohamed Omar attributed this to the opening of schools on January 2.
Omar said the government should in future push the opening date for the first term to second week of January to give Kenyans time to celebrate the New Year with their families.