Three years after the country was badly hit by the deadly disease that brought so many negative effects in different sectors including the tourism sector, the improvements are quite encouraging as the sector has had a drastic positive change. Hotels in the coastal region are recording so many increased bookings as the peak tourism season approaches after years of a slug over the same period.
Most of the hotels are recording a 70 to 80 percent occupancy with the numbers expected to increase in the festive season beginning from as early as November up to December where the numbers will be exemplary high. Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) Chief Executive Officer Julius Owino said that this is the first time the Tourism industry is receiving high number of visitors in years since the corona virus pandemic in 2020.
He also stated that most hotels are doing quite well in terms of numbers whereby they are already hitting 700,000 international arrivals Mombasa so far and their set target is 1,000,000 visitors by the end of the year. Mr Owino explained that the increase in numbers of tourists was brought about by the government’s support for open sky policy that allows flights to land directly at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Airlines is also expected to launch its second direct flight to the Coast region, Fly Dubai will also do the same in January next year while Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airlines are waiting for government approval. Being that schools are closing for two months, the tourism sector expects an increase in local tourists as many Kenyans tend to travel to the coast for holidays mostly the festive season.
Mombasa has transformed itself from being a luxury tourism destination to a meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism destination. Mr Owino also ststed that Diani is still the leading destination due to its award winning beaches, while Lamu, Watamu, Malindi and Taita-Taveta receives visitors due to their cultural and wildlife attractions. He stated that both the domestic and International tourist numbers are expected to increase due to the long holidays.