In Summary:
– Industry on the road to recovery after lifting of UK travel advisory.
– Tour firms making enquiries at hotels on behalf of their clients.

Tourist bookings from Europe are beginning to recover following the lifting of travel advisories by the UK government two weeks ago.

According to hoteliers at the Coast, British tourists have been making enquiries on reservations after their government lifted travel warning issued against Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.

On Monday, Nyali International Beach Hotel revenue manager Nabeth Mabeya said bookings from the UK market had started to pick up.

He noted that some British tourists had made bookings for the August to October period, with others choosing November and December.

“The lifting of the advisories was a positive move as we have started to record bookings from the UK market,” he said.

Mr Mabeya explained that insurance costs for holidays dropped after the advisories were lifted.

“The tourists who have made reservations appreciate that getting an insurance cover at the moment is inexpensive compared to when the travel ban was in place,” he said.

Mr Mabeya added that more German tourists are expected to visit the country following German holiday airline Condor’s plans to introduce flights from Munich to Mombasa.

He noted that the introduction of the new route will increase Condor’s flights from three to four per week since it already has three flights a week from Frankfurt to Mombasa.

RESUME FLIGHTS

In Diani, Baobab Beach Resort general manager Sylvester Mbandi said the hotel would start receiving Italian tourists from late July.

He added that an Italian chartered airline, Francorosso, is expected to resume flights from Milan to Mombasa beginning July 29.

Mr Mbandi said the hotel also expects to receive tourists from Germany and Britain between November and December.

“We have started to record bookings from Italy, German and Britain, but we expect the tourists to arrive late in the year,” he explained.

The hotelier said Baobab Beach Resort, which had been closed down for renovations in May, reopened on June 23 after international bookings from Europe started to trickle in.

Heritage Hotels chief executive officer Mohamed Hersi said the hotel group had also been receiving enquiries from the UK market after the travel advisory against Mombasa was lifted.

Tour firms Kuoni, Hayes and Jarvis and Somak, he added, have been enquiring about reservations for their clients.

“It was a step in the right direction, as leading tour operators from Europe are now interested in selling Kenya. Although the bookings are sluggish, we expect a rise in January and February next year,” he said.

SECURITY HAS IMPROVED

Mr Hersi, who is also the Kenya Coast Tourist Association chairman, said security had improved significantly in Mombasa Town, on the beaches and at Moi International Airport.

“The Kenya Wildlife Service has intensified patrols on the beaches, making them secure for sun seekers and swimmers,” he said.

Travellers Beach Hotel general manager Freddie Kiuru said the hotel expects repeat guests from Britain to jet in for holidays between August and December this year.

Severin Sea Lodge resident manager James Owiti added that the hotel had started to receive a few tourists from Germany.

He attributed this to support from German tour firms TUI, ITF, Jahn Reisen and Berg & Mere.