Kenya’s tourism sector upbeat despite advisories

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Tourism sector at the Kenyan coast has recorded an impressive performance during the Easter holiday despite the travel advisories and recent terrorist attack in Garrisa, north of the country. tourism
The industry players however said on Saturday they are mostly depending on conferences and domestic tourism to fill their facilities.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) executive director at the Coast, Sam Ikwaye said despite the calmness in the region, tourism is yet to pick up.
“Hotels are offering good packages to entice both local and foreign tourists, but the numbers are not as pleasing as they were some few years back,” he told Xinhua in Mombasa.
Ikwaye said the Kenyan authorities need to invest in marketing strategies to be able to attract the markets which have shifted to other areas.
He called on Britain and other Western countries to reverse the travel advisory that has been in place since May last year.
Last year, for the first time in history, Britain evacuated its more than 600 citizens after issuing the advisories.
Tui Travel, the largest tour agent listed in British Stock Exchange, evacuated over 500 of its client who were booked in the Kenyan hotels.
Mohamed Hersi, the chairman of the Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA), said persistent travel advisories have worsened the situation.
He said last year, the hotel bed occupancy in most hotels was between 50 percent and 60 percent during this time of the year, and however, this year the numbers are down at 20 percent.
Over 20 Coastal hotels were last year forced to shut down due to the bad business. In March, tourism sector received a major boost following the arrival of a cruise ship with 394 tourists at the Mombasa port.
The cruise ship, MV Silver Whispers from Seychelles, which was the first to arrive in the country this year, docked at the port with American visitors.
The tourism sector in the coast region has in a second year in a row recorded poor performance due to travel advisories that were issued after a spate of insecurity incidents.