The tourism and hospitality industry in Kenya has finally acknowledged that Kenyan tourism is in trouble.
Looking at the coastal hotels and resorts bookings which should have been high last week because of the Easter holiday but instead sunk to an all time low, Kenya association of hotel keepers and caterers is officially ringing the alarm bell.
Easter season is usually peak season in many hotels and resorts, this season however, only a handful of hotels recorded 100% occupancy. The 20-40% average in the low season didn’t change much when what supposed to be a high season came along.
The Kenya association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers is blaming the slump on terrorist threats and high crime rate which has scared tourists away and forced them to seek Africa safaris and beach holidays in other places such as Tanzania and Zanzibar along the east African coast.
There have been travel advisories cautioning tourists not to visit the countries which have only worsened the situation because such advisories set off a chain of reaction from the advisory, insurance companies will refuse to approve or honour claims pertaining to trips to those countries, and this will eventually completely discourage tourists even those who were willing to ignore the travel advisory. It is because of this that tourists who would usually be flocking Kenya at this time are instead making Tanzania safaris or beach holidays in Zanzibar.
In addition to insecurity issues, the introduction of VAT and rising of park fees has not helped at all. They have instead increased holiday costs in Kenya and the country’s appeal as a major Africa safari destination has declined. Some tour operators such as Richard Corcoran, MD of Liberty Africa Safaris blame the tourism slump on the government because of this. The new taxes, and increased park fees were very abrupt with no warning or consultation whatsoever and tour operators have suffered big losses especially with safari and holiday bookings that were made before the levies were imposed.
Add the increasing levels of wildlife poaching in the country to this equation and you have a tourism industry in very big trouble. The Masai Mara game reserve, a favourite safari destination for many tourists is a victim of poaching and its wildlife population is slowly reducing because of this vice. Although thos is being blamed on china’s demand for ivory, something has to be done and fast.
Kenya is one of the most beautiful destination in Africa, and its beauty shouldn’t be marred neither its tourism industry destroyed in such a manner.