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Hoteliers laughing all the way to the bank ahead of Africities event

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Spray artist does final touches on a project ahead of the Africities Conference at Jomo Kenyatta Stadium in Kisumu on May 13, 2022. [Denish Ochieng,Standard]

 

Fears of an accommodation crisis has hit Kisumu ahead of the Africities Summit slated for May 17 to May 21 as thousands of visitors stream into the city.

With almost all top hotels fully booked, a number of them seeking to make a kill from the event have increased their rates with some doubling while others tripling their normal rates.

Local tourists and people on private business trips have been forced to dig deeper into their pockets while others have opted to seek accommodation in other towns as far as Kakamega.

Almost all leading hotels are fully booked.

A number of Airbnb’s operators also confirmed that they were fully booked while those that normally charge Sh2,000 per night now charge Sh6,000. Others that go for Sh8,000 are now charging as much as Sh20,000.

Fredrick Kimani, who is on a business-related trip to the lakeside city said he had to look for alternative accommodation in Kakamega since most of the hotels are fully booked while those that still had space were quite expensive.

At booking.com, the few hotels that were available only had a few accommodation spaces left. Acacia Premier Hotel, one of the leading hotels indicated that it does not have any accommodation available during the period the Africities event will be taking place.

Most hotels indicated on their websites they had been fully booked until the last day of the event. 

Yesterday, a manager of one of the major hotels said apart from high demand which pushed the prices up, the hotels had also spent a lot of money in preparation for the event to ensure guests get world-class service during their stay.

“Our prices have changed because the demand is high. In our hotel, we only have three spaces left and they are rooms that normally go for Sh10,000 but are now going for Sh25,000,” he said.

Maureen Ochieng who owns a furnished apartment told The Standard that the prices of the apartments have also doubled.

“We are receiving several requests and most of the available units have been reserved by guests,” she said.

More than 8,000 guests are expected to attend the event. Although a lot of efforts has gone into ensuring there is adequate accommodation for all of guests, pressure is growing on the hospitality sector which is a good thing.

Kisumu will be the first non-capital city to host the Africities Conference since United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) was founded in 2005 in the City of Tshwane, South Africa.

The Kisumu conference will be looking at the development of member cities in line with UCLG’s 2063 Vision which, among other things, seeks to find ways to develop infrastructure in cities and make them conducive for business.

Robinson Anyal, who is Lake Victoria Tourism Association chairman said the group listed the facilities that will provide accommodation for guests and admitted that most of the hotels were now fully occupied.

“The association in collaboration with tourism regulatory authority, stakeholders and the events committee has listed only hotels, home stays, guests’ houses, airbnbs that meet some minimum quality standards to be at the forefront in serving the expected guests,” said Anyal. 

He however cautioned those charging exorbitant rates, saying complaints could be lodged with the Tourism Regulatory Authority which could lead to their deregistration.



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