Back to school leaves hotels on the low – The Star, Kenya

•Conferences are currently the main purpose of stay.
•Facilities have been forced to reduce their rates to attract the domestic market which it has been heavily depending on since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hotels at the Coast have reported a major drop in occupancy occasioned by the back-to-school period that has seen parents spend more on fees as priorities move from holidays.
Most hotels are reporting occupancy of between 20-30 per cent, with conferences being the main reason of stay.
Facilities have also been forced to reduce their rates.
Mombasa’s, Sun Africa Nyali Beach Hotel is offering rooms for as low as Sh11,000 per person.
“We have had to come up with attractive packages for our clients,” management to told the Star.
In Diani, Baobab has rooms going for Sh16,000 per person which in peak season goes for Sh27,500.
“Business has been low in the past two weeks a trend expected to continue until the high season which starts towards the end of July. Right now parents are focusing more on school with reduced spending on leisure,” the Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KCTA) chief executive, Julius Owino, told the Star.
According to KCTA, low numbers are being reported across the entire Coast region with major destinations being Diani, Mombasa and Lamu.
Malindi, which has in the past heavily depended on the Italian market is the most hit by low numbers.
“Most jobs are casual and contractual and without business, nothing much can be done but to let some staff go,” Owino said.
The industry is struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic which hit at least 1.2 million full-time jobs last year.
According to the tourism ministry, the industry suffered a Sh152.4 billion loss in labour income as employers in the industry cut operations on low visitor numbers.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both international and domestic tourism faced near collapse leading to substantial job losses across all the tourism sub-sectors,” the Tourism Research Institute(TRI) notes.
The Economic Survey 2020 however notes the country’s tourism sector is on a recovery path.
Overall, hotel bed-nights occupancy expanded by 45.1 per cent to 5.5 million in 2021.
Hotel bed-nights occupancy by residents of Kenya rose by 49.2 per cent to 3.8 million and accounted for 69.4 per cent of the total hotel bed nights occupancy in 2021.
Meanwhile, Tourism CS Najib Balala has said  the ministry has renewed its marketing campaigns in France, Sweden, Poland, Mexico, Israel, Iran, Australia, Switzerland, Netherlands and Belgium.
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