Nairobi — The tourism sector is upbeat this season with increased hotel bookings and fully booked buses, trains, and flights as Kenyans gear up to celebrate Easter holiday.
This Easter is the first since 2019 to be marked without Covid-19 travel restrictions as most hotels recorded low business or remained closed during the season in 2020 and 2021.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers(KAHC) CEO Mike Macharia told Capital Business that the sector is doing well this season.
“Bookings are good and people are back to travelling, business is especially high at the Coast and safari destinations such as Naivasha,” said Macharia.
Macharia also noted that Nairobi is opening up with increased meeting activities thus bringing business.
Diani Reef Resort also reported being fully booked over the holiday 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.
The SGR Madaraka Express which connects Nairobi to Mombasa is also fully booked over the Easter weekend.
A one-way Jambojet plane ticket to the Coast from Nairobi now goes for about Sh14,000 from as low as Sh5,000, underlining the high demand ahead of the holiday season.
Despite the good business, Macharia noted that the tourism industry still has a long way to go to get to the 2019 numbers.
“We are fairing on 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.
Tourism was among the worst-hit sectors by the Covid-19 pandemic with numerous hotel shutdowns and millions of jobs lost, but is steadily recovering.
Kenya’s tourism earnings grew by 65.4 percent last year to Sh146.51bn compared to Sh88. 56bn in 2020, industry data shows as the sector slowly recovers from the effects of the pandemic.