Kenya is set to get an additional 4,000 hotel beds in the next five years as per an estimate of international and upcoming brands that have announced plans of setting up in the country.
Director of Tourism, Ms Keziah Odemba, said the coming of the international brands portends good tidings for the industry and for the country’s economy as the established brands will directly source for tourists from their niche markets thereby adding to the total visitor numbers.
Speaking during the World Tourism Day fete in Nairobi, Ms Odemba said the expected multi-billion shilling investments among them by Swiss Lenana Motel, Radisson Blu, Villa Rosa Kempinski, Golden Tulip, Amber, Ibis Styles and an array of upcoming brands such as the 64-storeyed Hilton Upper Hill among others across the country show Kenya’s tourism projections are positive.
Last year Kenya received 1.1 million tourists mainly entering Kenya for business and leisure, with 2017’s projects currently set at 1.4 million.
About 937,000 tourists were hosted on holiday, 78,000 were business travellers and a further 136,000 tourists visiting for other reasons.
Online travel marketer Jumia Country Manager Cyrus Onyiego urged passenger airlines and tourist hotels to introduce special rates to cater for local travellers.
Mr Onyiego said Kenyans were keen to travel locally but were discouraged by exorbitant fees charged by the hotels.
“It is cheaper to fly from Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam to Kigali in Rwanda than it is to fly from Nairobi to Mombasa. Hotels also need to come up with an innovative pricing model that embraces cheaper pricing for advance family bookings for locals,” he said.
Ms Odemba said Kenya continues to record high tourism arrivals due to the relative peace that has continued to prevail even after the Supreme Court annulled the August 8 presidential election results.
Tourism expert Carmen Nibigira reiterated her call to African governments to open up borders for intra-Africa travel, saying affordable air fares could be realised if governments eased all charges levied on incoming airlines as well as zero-rating of visa charges like Europe and America had done.