The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: More Domestic Tourists Visit Coast Hotels

Hoteliers have reported a busy Christmas season, coupled with a higher demand for bed and breakfast booking compared to a similar period last year. Mtwapa based Lambada Holiday Resort said business from domestic tourism, fueled by the festive season, has increased by 20 per cent over December 2012 season to stand at an estimated 50 per cent in bookings this period.

"Business is still low compared to how it was in 2010 and 2011 Christmas holidays, but I would say it is better than last year's Christmas season when booking was very low due to terror based insecurity and the general election mood," Lambada Holiday Resort director Julius Kamau said.

The resort said its targeting the peak season from December 22 to January 3, when many Kenyans will be rushing to book accommodation so as to enjoy the Christmas and the new year at the coast. Likewise, Mombasa based New Palm Tree Hotel said domestic tourism has brought a booming business this holiday season raising possibility that hotel charges will be increased due to high demand.

"We are currently getting many bookings from both domestic and international tourists, thus we will increase our rates to establish the peak period from December 20 to January 3," the manager said. Experience Kenya chief executive, Erick Ombasa said Christmas has influenced hotel bookings at 60 per cent at the coast hotels.

"A lot of Christmas holiday business is currently coming domestically, but the festive season tourism is still sluggish in relation to previous years and this is due to security factors such as the recent Westgate Mall terror attack," Ombasa said. He added that continued security issues in Kenya in the recent years up to now, have hindered the recovery of holiday travel and tourism.

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