THERE has been no major impact on hotel occupancy as a result of recent terrorism attacks in the country, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers has revealed.
According to chief executive of KAHC Mike Macharia, there have been "no direct cancellations" that stem from the string of attacks at various points in the country and which have shone the international spotlight on Kenya. "There have been no reports of cancellations and we are in the low season anyway," commented Macharia.
The tourist low season runs between March to Mid July which is the time when there are fewer international visitors mostly because of the long rains experienced around the country at this time that affect travel and tour plans. Mohamed Hersi the regional head of Sarova Hotels in Coast province said that though there have been no cancellation of bookings yet, "people were worried and are asking questions". "We have been doing over 90 per cent occupancy the whole of this week," said Hersi. Hersi said that keeping the market duly informed every time there is an attack has helped forestall any misunderstanding that could affect the highly sensitive tourism industry.
Kenya Tourism Federation also issues security updates each time there is a terrorist attack complete with a map indicating where exactly in Kenya the incident took place so that such happenings are not generalized to appear as if the entire country is unsafe. "We have already issued a statement to MDRs (market development representatives) with a map showing exactly where Garissa is," commented KTF chief executive Agatha Juma, in reaction to twin attacks on Sunday that left 17 people dead in Garissa.
MDRs are usually natives of target markets who create a link between Kenya's tourism players and marketing agencies with potential tourists. Sam Ikwaye the CEO of Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya said the attacks have led to more investment in security by players in the hospitality industry. Sai Rock Hotel general manager David Lang'at said his hotel is 90 per cent full but added that there might be indirect cancellations as he has already received two calls from Uganda and Germany asking about the security situation in Mombasa.
Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry Mombasa county chairman James Mureu said generally, business may have been affected indirectly. Mureu said though there might not be any statistics to show that some investors have shied away from the Coast or Kenya as a whole, this might actually be the case. "Those who are already doing business here may not move out but we never know what a potential investor may have been planning before the attacks. Maybe they develop second thoughts after the attacks, we never know," said Mureu.