As Kenyans prepare to celebrate Easter, the tourism sector is buoyant this season, with increased hotel bookings and fully packed buses, trains, and flights.
Booming tourism sectors
Most hotels reported low business or remained closed over the season in 2020 and 2021, therefore this Easter will be the first without Covid-19 travel restrictions since 2019.
Mike Macharia, CEO of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC), told Capital Business that the sector is performing well this season.
“Bookings are good and people are back to traveling, business is especially high at the Coast and safari destinations such as Naivasha,” said Macharia.
Macharia also mentioned that Nairobi is becoming more business-friendly as a result of more meeting activities.
Diani Reef Resort was likewise fully booked for the Easter break, which ran from April 13 to 19.
“Business is good this season, we are fully booked with 80per cent of our guests being domestic tourists,” said Bobby Kamani, Managing Director at the Diani Reef Resort and Spa.
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Over the Easter weekend, the SGR Madaraka Express, which connects Nairobi and Mombasa, is also fully booked.
A one-way Jambojet flight from Nairobi to the Coast now costs around Sh14,000, up from Sh5,000 previously, indicating high demand ahead of the holiday season.
Despite the positive results, Macharia stated that the tourism industry still has a long way to go before reaching the 2019 figures.
“We are fairing well, but we should not forget where we came from,” he said.
On his side, Kamani noted that the shortage of flights to Ukunda is negatively affecting business.
“We are calling on the government to extend the Ukunda airstrip so that we can increase the number of arrivals and also tap into the greater East African market,” he said.
The tourism industry was one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with countless hotel closures and millions of job losses, but it is now rebounding.
According to industry data, Kenya’s tourist profits increased by 65.4 percent last year to Sh146.51 billion, up from Sh88.56 billion in 2020, as the sector progressively recovers from the ravages of the epidemic.