Holiday booking frenzy as reservations hit 60pc

Tourists enjoy the sunshine at Bamburi Beach Hotel

Tourists enjoy the sunshine at Bamburi Beach Hotel in Mombasa. Mombasa County government has introduced new levies to increase its revenue base, with some being resisted by traders and investors.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

Hotel operators in Mombasa have recorded a surge in bookings ahead of the December holidays with bed reservations hitting 60 percent three months to the festivities.

This is despite the high cost of living that saw the country’s inflation hit a 63-month high of 9.2 percent in September.

The Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) September Market Perception Survey shows while hotels in the coastal tourism hub have recorded a 60-percent booking  for December while those in Nairobi have hit 50 percent.

Hotels in other parts of the country have an average of 57.8 percent for the month, the CBK survey shows.

This reflects the appetite by Kenyans to get away after pressure from nearly two years of restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 and electioneering.

“Forward hotel bookings have increased significantly,” the CBK stated.

Average forward bookings for hotels in Mombasa were 55.7 percent for October, 45 percent for November, and 59.7 percent for December by last month.

Average forward bookings for hotels in Nairobi were 62 percent for October and 50 percent for November and December each.

Many Kenyans in the middle-income segment have always preferred taking families to celebrate holidays on the Coast.

But this year they will be facing a costlier enjoyment, after CBK statistics showed the cost of fun activities such as games, toys, camping, sports equipment, cinema, theatre, concerts and package holidays rose by 3.06 percent in June this year compared to last year, the fastest cost increase since CBK started publishing the data using the rebased consumer price indices (CPI) in February 2020.

KNBS estimates that Kenyan households on average spend about 1.7 percent of their income on leisure activities monthly.

Leisure, sporting, and cultural activities remain on a rebound following disruptions of the Covid-19.

Most outdoor fun was halted by the movement and public gathering restrictions imposed in March 2020 when Covid-19 hit Kenya.

The lifting of these restrictions has seen cinemas, theatres, clubs and other recreational joints reopen to the public amid increased demand, triggering a rise in prices.


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