The chairperson of Kenya Hotel Keepers and Caterers Association North Coast region Maureen Awuor has said that most hotels were forced to refund millions to clients who had booked indifferent resorts for the easter holidays due to lockdown over corona pandemic. – By Ramadhan Kambi.
Ms Awuor who is also the General Manager of Ocean beach resort and Spa said the lockdown on five counties imposed by the government led to huge losses to the hotels and really affected business.
Speaking at Ocean beach resort and spa she said they had 98 per cent bookings for the Easter holiday but now had only 20 per cent bed occupancy.
“We have been forced to lay off some of our staff following the directive by Hotels in the north coast, which were opened during the Easter weekend, recorded an average of 20 per cent occupancy, hoteliers in the region have said.
Unlike other Easter Holidays where hotels record 100 per cent occupancy, this year was different due to lockdown of five counties bordering Nairobi
She said tourism sector players had received bookings from domestic tourists upcountry but were canceled last minute after the five counties were placed under lockdown by President Uhuru Kenyatta to prevent the spread of the covid 19 pandemic.
“The decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta to lock down five counties among them Nairobi affected our business,’’ he said.
Other counties affected by the lockdown include Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, and Nakuru where people were blocked from travelling.
She said that her facility which normally has over 100 employees has now remained with only 20 per cent due to the low number of guests.
Traditionally Malindi and Watamu were relying on the foreign market specifically the Italians who used to come in large numbers until they were affected by the pandemic and could not travel.
The resorts diversified and begun an aggressive marketing locally for domestic tourists which was successful but due to the lockdown it affected the business completely.
There are fears that the few resorts which were open could also close down business if the situation will not change.