Following a sterling record in tourism during the recently ended festive season, plans are unfolding to make special packages so that the Coast becomes active throughout the year.
Most Kenya hotels that recorded 100% occupancy — the majority of them being domestic tourists — have been left empty after the thousands of guests went back to their normal working and business schedules.
Players in the industry said the focus on Kenya tours needed to shift from relying only on foreign tourists.
Local tourists can make up for the other seasons when there is a drop in foreign tourists.
Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association (MCTA) executive officer Millicent Odhiambo said Kenya and particularly the Coast had a lot of tourist attractions that if developed would see the trend in tourism change for the better.
She said some hotels had gone big on promoting their facilities for conferences. They are targeting the business class who visit the Coast for the various business opportunities especially within the maritime sector.
“But besides business, the Kenyan culture and heritage is rich and would be a major attraction that could attract not only lovers of history, but also researchers.
“We need to re-focus our attention on other areas other than the beach holidays and Kenya safaris, because these are seasonal yet there are so many things that can be sold as tourist attractions,” she said, adding that the introduction of the Old Town Bazaar in Mombasa and heritage sites were enough to keep the industry afloat throughout the year.
Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa, which recorded 96 per cent occupancy during the December holiday, is now targeting the business community who will be looking for venues to hold their company meetings and conferences.
The hotel’s general manager, Mr. Mohamed Hersi exuded optimism. The hotel is targeting about 80 per cent occupancy in the first quarter of the year from conferences and meetings.
“The end of the festive season doesn’t mean the end of business. The year is looking good and we are looking forward to getting more international clients,” said Mr. Hersi in a telephone interview.
Mr. Hersi said that they will be lowering their rates for local tourists who include all the East Africans, as an initiative to encourage them to take advantage of the low season and also to boost local tourism.