Hotels in Mt Kenya and Western bear brunt of instability

Hotels in Mt Kenya and Western regions have been hit hard by the prevailing political climate.

In Mt Kenya region, hotel operators have started laying off workers as the hospitality industry grapples with low business due to rising political temperatures in the country.

According to Edward Wangechi, the chairman of hoteliers and caterers association in the region, hotels have suffered 80 per cent losses since the Supreme Court annulled the August 8 presidential election.

“Tourism is a source of livelihood to so many people and we need our leaders to quell the current political temperatures so that we can get back to business,” said Mr Wangechi.

CANCELLATIONS

He added that immediately after the nullification of the election, 80 per cent of the bookings were cancelled.

“It is very hard to convince people that the region is secure when everyone is saying there is a crisis in the country. I have sat down with my staff and most of the time we are dealing with cancellations,” he said.

The months of June to December usually represent peak period for the industry but hotels could record even lower numbers this year should the situation persist.

He said the region is a favourable destination for adventure sports and game viewing as well as family and romantic trips.

“We are peaceful people but we are bearing the brunt of the political situation,” added Mr Wangechi.

ACTIVITIES

The hotels in the region are now focusing on other activities to lure both local and international tourists.

“We are focusing our energies on offering more than great food, drinks and accommodation,” he said.

Mr Wangechi was speaking when he was seeing off a group of runners who had jetted in the country to participate in the Standard Chartered Nairobi marathon that was cancelled due to political uncertainty in the country.

The marathon was scheduled to be held on Sunday but was postponed to November 28.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES

Meanwhile, hoteliers and investors in Western region have said the postponed poll in Nyanza counties will hurt the hospitality business.

The Lake Victoria Tourism Association chairman Dedan Olao said Western and Nyanza regions have already lost over Sh800 million due to missed business opportunities.

“We thought the situation will stabilise but we are realising every day its getting worse,” said Mr Olao.

He said the affected investments and hotels are located in Kisumu, Homa Bay, Siaya, Migori, Kakamega, Busia and Bungoma.

“It will take a lot of time to recover. We appeal to IEBC to stop holding the country hostage and  announce the results,” he said. 

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