BY FLORA AWINJA
Two years after the COVID-19 pandemic, the tourism and hotel industry in Dini, Kwale County is recovering even with the global economic strains caused by the Ukraine-Russian war.
Stakeholders in the sector haven’t given up saying that there’s been a slight improvement since the industry is picking up post covid and 2022 general elections
Even as most Kenyans opted to have a low-key Easter celebration, hoteliers said they had good records of guests who booked at their facilities.
Kioko, who is also the Kwale county chairman for the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC), said that most hotels recorded over 80% occupancy while Leopard was operating at over 90%.
“Yes, it’s true that we have received more guests this Easter compared to the previous year because we were just from the COVID pandemic. However, most importantly we cannot rejoice over these 3 days and ignore the rest 362 days of the year. That is a challenge, “he noted.
Kioko said it is important to concentrate on issues like security for the sector to grow.
“It is vitally important to concentrate on important issues that make the tourism industry a success and for its growth, especially peace and security. With security it keeps the guests’ perception alive that they will indeed be safe in the hotel areas “he said.
According to Kioko, the expansion of the Diani airstrip to give enough runway for bigger planes to land will enable both international and local tourists to get to the southern coast easily and on time without experiencing the ferry hitches.
“We would like to thank the government for their initiative to expand the Diani airstrip for more and bigger planes to land. Because I can give a scenario of a guest who couldn’t check in on the booked date because the planes were fully booked” said Kioko.
Mary Cherono and her friends visited Diani for the Easter holiday after planning the trip for six months.
She acknowledged that travelling with the SGR was smooth from Nairobi to Mombasa terminal after working the whole day on Thursday and taking the night train.
“We had planned for this Easter vacation with a group of my high school friends in Nairobi. We went to work normally the whole day on Thursday and then travelled throughout the night by SGR which was smooth until Miritini station but the Likoni ferry crossing was hectic. Completion of the Dongo Kundu by-pass will solve the ferry stress” she said.
She said that Diani is beautiful, clean and safe, especially with the beefed-up security to the beach areas that alert visitors in case of high tides and when it is not safe for swimming.
Being Hildah Chepkemboi’s first time in Diani, she said that she enjoyed the food and services offered by the staff.
“It’s my first time here in Diani though I have visited other places in the Coast region the food is perfect, the staff are friendly and most importantly the environment is very good. The government and stakeholders are doing a good job on advertising the different packages offered though there’s a lot to be done but so far so good” Said Chepkemboi.