Coastal tourism and hospitality industry players are recording occupancy rates as high as 80% ahead of the Christmas festive season. PrideInn Hotels Group Managing Director Hasnain Noorani has confirmed that there’s a spike in bookings made by local holiday makers on the back of increased number of budget carriers to the coastal city of Mombasa.
“There is a correlation between transport industry and hospitality. For the longest time, transport industry has been the principal driving force behind local tourism. The number of airline users have increased thanks to the decrease in air fares resulting from the increase in number of budget carries to and fro Mombasa,” said Noorani.
Additional budget flights have been picking up following the lapse and withdrawal of travel advisories issued a while ago and the prevailing peaceful environment.
In September, local airline Silverstone Air Services intensified competition on the Nairobi-Mombasa route with the launch of direct flights between the two cities, targeting tourists on the coastal circuit. Its entry, along with that of other airlines in recent times, triggered further cuts in ticket prices along the busy Mombasa route. Fly Tristar Services made its debut into the Kenyan Coast with a promise of unrivalled air service as it sorts to slice the growing number of locals who travel by air.
Coast regional manager for PrideInn Hotels Victor Shitakah said that hotels have recorded a high number of reservations with majority of visitors being locals.
“Holiday makers are willing to fly out to Mombasa rather than drive over 8 hours. Additional flights to Moi International Airport in Mombasa have been a big plus since coastal towns are the ultimate holiday destinations for majority domestic tourists in Kenya,” said Shitakah.
The economic contribution from these carriers is seen to go further than the abundance of tourists who arrive with open wallets. They create jobs and bring economic benefits to the whole coastal tourism sector. In addition, the spin-off economic benefits obtained from locally based low-cost carriers will boost diversity in coastal economy, and act as economic growth poles of coastal society.
“These flights are serving our most important city for visitation and will have a huge positive tourism impact for Mombasa County. The rise of low-cost carriers has been winning fans, completely transforming the industry,” said Mohammed Omar, General manager for PrideInn Paradise.