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It is harvest time as hotels record massive bookings

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Local tourists enjoy a moment at the pool at Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Hotels, lodges and tented camps as well as holiday facilities in Kenya have registered massive bookings with holiday makers keen to make the best of the season.

Some operators have taken advantage of high demand to increase the cost of accommodation.

Those who spoke to the Nation in Naivasha acknowledged improved business following months of lull due to political uncertainty witnessed in the country.

“We have recorded full bookings until the New Year. They year has been tough but the situation seems to be improving,” said Crayfish director Peter Mehta.

To cap the festive season will be a live performance by leading artists on New Year eve, which will include Tanzanian renowned artist Diamond.

Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort General Manager Gregory Wabuge also talked of improved business.

READ: Local tourists flock to the coast for end-year festivities

ALSO READ:LETTERS: How tourism can gain from Uhuru visa-free policy

Picked up

He said the business has picked up after a slow start, attributing the impressive trend to the festivities.

“We are operating at the optimum and the demand for hotel services is very high,” said Mr Wabuge.

The GM said they had transitioned from conferences by corporate bodies, to leisure bookings with the vast hotel fully booked.

Also expected to sing carols due to improved business are boat operators plying trade in the fresh water lake with the anticipated high number of local and international tourists.

“The business has been extremely slow but it’s slowly picking up. We expect to operate to full capacity during the Christmas period,” said Mr David Kilo a beach management unit chairman.

In Narok, the Maasai Mara game reserve is teeming with local and foreign tourists who have packed lodges and tented camps.

READ: How focus on high-yield visitors is hurting domestic tourism

Domestic tourists

Despite an increase in the number of international tourist arrivals, domestic tourist numbers still dominate the occupancy in most lodges.

Several star lodges had prepared in advance with elaborate programmes, including enticing rates for holidaymakers as the season set in.

Keekorok Lodge has been set out as a village with luxurious bedrooms that evoke the spirit and style of ancient dwellings with its 180 beds capacity.

General Manager John Kiruthi said over and above the festive period, the lodge has a dedicated number of guests, repeat visitors, a mix of local, regional and international visitors checking in to taste the true Sun Africa spirit.

“We are operating at above 70 per cent and hope to be fully booked on both the Christmas and New Year Eves,” added Mr Kiruthi who said majority of those booked are Kenyans.

He said many Nairobians come with their families to take advantage of the long school holidays representing about 45 per cent of the guests.

“Apart from relaxing and enjoying game drives, wonderful sun downers and bird viewing, we feel energised and are looking forward to a happy festive season and a prosperous New Year,” said Dillon’s hotel, Thika-proprietor Johnstone Ndegwa who is booked at Matira tented camp for the festive season.

100pc bookings

In Laikipia County hotels are reporting a 100 per cent bookings during the season.

While it is a boom to local investors in the hospitality industry, which has suffered a beating for the better part of the year, it will be a disappointment to those who might have planned to make a last minute booking as they visit the region famed for its rare wildlife species.

A spot check by the Nation revealed that lodges inside wildlife sanctuaries that had either closed temporarily or had to cancel international bookings are gearing to receive a high number of visitors in the next few days.

: nation.co.ke

 

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