Hoteliers at the Coast have faulted the Kenya Tourist Board for not marketing Kenya aggressively enough abroad leading to lower than expected visitor numbers in ongoing high season.
This comes barely two days after the KTB said the tourism industry, especially at the Coast, has been negatively affected by insecurity.
While acknowledging that the market is not doing as well as it should normally at this time of the year, the hoteliers said KTB needs to spend more money if it is to compete with other markets like Thailand, South Africa and Malaysia in promotion. Reef Hotel general manager Kuldip Sondhi said the market at the moment is not doing so well due to the uncertainties associated with the next general elections.
"This affects both investors and future bookings. It is the duty of KTB to reassure the potential overseas market that all is well," said Sondhi. Pride Inn Sairock general manager David Lang'at thare has not been as many advance bookings as in other years. He was however quick to add that there has not been any cancellations either.
"It is true people are scared. The KTB should be aggressive enough in marketing Kenya," said Lang'at. However, Sarova Whitesands general manager Mohamed Hersi said though there are challenges in the market at the moment, it has to do more with the European economy than with insecurity in Kenya.
"There are challenges but they have not negatively affected the industry that much. The market is not doing so well, but my bigger problem right now is with the economy in Europe," said Hersi. Sondhi expressed fears that the five months from December to April, when the industry usually records high profits, might this time not bring in the much needed revenue.
Lang'at said KTB should incorporate people with vast industry experience in the board and not just people with paper qualifications. "We have people who have been in the industry for more than 20 years who know the ups and downs of the industry. These people can identify how to properly market the country abroad," said Lang'at.
Hersi, who is also the chairman of the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association, rated the industry at the moment about 6.5-7 on a scale of 10. He said Hotels in Malindi have opened and are receiving guests.