Coast hotels left counting losses ahead of the Easter peak season
Hotels at the Coast region have been left counting losses after President Kenyatta imposed a lockdown in five counties ahead of Easter holidays.
Dozens of events such as meetings and weddings that were to take place in the hotels next week have been cancelled abruptly due to cessation of movement and other containment measures. Local and international tourists have also cancelled bookings.
Hoteliers have expressed disappointment at the President’s decision to lock down five counties ahead of the holidays from which the investors were expecting to reap.
The investors have started sending home workers who had been recalled to work a few months ago after the industry started picking up.
On Friday, President Kenyatta imposed a lockdown in five counties considered high-risk, namely Machakos, Nairobi, Nakuru, Kajiado and Kiambu amid rising cases of Covid-19. The decision has thrown the tourism sector into disarray ahead of the Easter peak season, with most of hotels having recorded 80 per cent bookings.
Coast industry players, led by the Kenya Tourism Federation, held crisis meetings over the weekend via Zoom to find mitigation measures.
The meetings involved air operators, travel agents, tour operators and hotel owners.
“We will issue a statement regarding our stand, but we’re disappointed by the government,” said an investor who requested anonymity. His hotel has lost massive business due to cancellations, he said.
Travellers Beach Hotel and Club General Manager Hilary Siele said they recorded a loss of Sh4.6 million due to cancellation of meetings.
Cut down on bills
The hotel has put in place contingency measures, including shutting down Travellers Club to cut down on utility bills. Only 100 out of 300 rooms will be left open during Easter.
Mr Siele said they will have to tap into Mombasa, Kisumu, Rift Valley and Ugandan markets. “We’re receiving 100 per cent cancellations from the Nairobi market,” he said.
Mombasa County Tourism Chief Officer Asha Abdi expressed disappointment at the lockdown. “We were expecting a lot of tourists during the holidays.
“We had taken all the precautionary measures and were monitoring hotels to ensure they adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols,” the official said.
Ms Abdi urged the government to allow citizens to travel to tourism destinations, but with authenticated coronavirus negative certification.