Tourism boom for Mombasa as conferences, meetings rise

Representative of the Nairobi County Assembly in a Procession to mark the start of the 2021 County Assemblies Sports Association (CASA) Games in Mombasa in this photo taken on 1st November 2021.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

Mombasa is enjoying a tourism boom, with hotels recording over 60 percent occupancy due to meetings and a County Assemblies Sports Association (CASA) event.

Beach hotels such as Pride Inn Paradise, Whitesands, English Point Marina, Bamburi and Serena have been recording greater business from meetings held by government agencies and the private sector. 

The sports event, estimated to cost Sh14 million, has drawn over 10,000 people from 38 counties.

The event was supposed to be held in June this year but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All sporting activities were suspended by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year due to surging cases of the virus.

But with the lifting of the night curfew, hotels are recovering from the pandemic shock. Mombasa acting County Secretary Joab Tumbo said the sporting event will boost the economy of the port city.

“Mombasa is the meeting point of diversity. It is culturally diverse, inclusive and willing to work with other counties. We will give maximum support to make sure the event is a success and remembered in the history of Mombasa,” he said.

Exclusive holiday homes are also stealing the show, becoming an alternative paradise for tourists visiting Mombasa, as the region records more travellers since the curfew was lifted.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir spurs with Mombasa County Assembly Speaker Aharub Khatri during the 2021 County Assemblies Sports Association (CASA) Games in Mombasa .

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast branch executive officer Sam Ikwaye said the industry had seen improved bookings and inquiries.

“The economy will boom, especially the transport and tourism sectors. Meetings are at the top of the list, with most of them coming from government, ministries and counties,” Dr Ikwaye said.

“November had been projected to be a slow month but the region especially is experiencing more activity, at 60 percent occupancy for hotels. The good news is alternative accommodation providers are also benefiting.”

Coast Holiday Homes chief executive Habel Mwakio said business is good.

“Studio apartments in Nyali, Shanzu and Mtwapa are fully booked by members of county assemblies. Business is good. People are coming to the Coast, especially to buy vehicles and other items found here. But we are looking forward to the holiday season,” he said.   

CASA secretary-general Bernard Omboko and Mombasa Public Health Chief Officer Pauline Oginga urged residents to continue adhering to Covid-19 protocols.

“We are working closely with the department of health to ensure the protocols are followed,” Mr Omboko said. 

CASA chair Peter Imwatok urged traders to cash in on the event.

Traders are already doing so at events being held at the Mbaraki sports club, in Shanzu and at the Tononoka Social Hall as they sell food, beverages and clothes.

“I am selling water and soda outside the Mombasa sports club. Business is very good. I have had to hire three more people to help me,” Jecinta Wanjiru said.

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