School calendar limits Easter profits for Coast hoteliers

Every year, hoteliers across the Coast region look forward to reaping from the Easter festivities.

Businesses in the tourism hubs of Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi often take advantage of the huge numbers of families from upcountry as well as pupils and students who arrive in the region for the long weekend because the festivities have mostly fallen during school holidays in the previous years.

However, this time round, a spot-check by the Nation showed that there was little being planned for celebrations in the tourism sector.

Stakeholders from the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC), Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA), the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) among other major tourism agencies said their members have rescheduled events until mid-April.

They said this is in a bid to recover from the low numbers witnessed during the Easter festivities linked with the school calendar and the holy month of Ramadhan.

“Hotels have low numbers as schools are closing at the same time with celebrations, thus families are unable to travel to the Coast for holiday,” KAHC executive director Sam Ikwaye said.

Mr Ikwaye said one of the events in the pipeline is in partnership with Uganda slated for mid-April.

According to tourism records by the Ministry of Tourism, in 2022, over three hundred and fifty thousand Kenyans visited Uganda while over 150,000 Ugandans visited Kenya.

The international event targeting not only Kenyans but Ugandans will run across three counties in the Coast region where visitors will be entertained with different musicians and enjoy different delicacies.

Uganda ambassador in Mombasa Paul Mukumbya assured the tourism sector of their support saying the event will not only assist in increasing income to those in the hospitality industry, but will also showcase different cultures in the region.

“We have joined hands to bring the event which will run from Diani, Mombasa to Malindi from April 17 to 20 this month. The event will leverage culture and golf to promote tourism, trade and investment between Uganda and Kenya Coast,” said Mr Mukumbya.

At the Jomo Kenyatta public beach famously known as ‘Pirates’, there was no much activity as witnessed during other holidays.

“We have seen very few people coming to this public beach. We get many people, more so children but this time what we are experiencing is very minimal numbers,” said Juma Rashid, a floater dealer at Pirates.

At the Likoni ferry channel, traffic was flowing smoothly with no much movement to the South Coast.

But despite low numbers, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Director-General Martin Dzombo Munga said security agencies were committed to ensuring that no Kenyan would lose their life at sea.

He said, together with the police, they had also involved beach management units (BMUs) to assist in monitoring activities at sea and handle any emergencies that may arise.

He advised Kenyans visiting the area to enjoy themselves in the water only during daylight hours and to leave as soon as darkness begins to set in.

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