Hotels to make a killing from wildebeest migration

Lodges and tented camps in the Maasai Mara National Reserve are expected to enjoy brisk business from next month due to the wildebeest migration spectacle.

Some international airlines from Europe are expected to increase flights to Kenya in July following a rise in summer season bookings.

German national carrier Lufthansa is expected to increase flights between Frankfurt and Nairobi from five to six a week on June 21, while Swiss International Air Lines will on July 6 increase flights between Zurich and Nairobi from five to six a week.

On the other hand, Turkish Airlines is expected to increase flights between Istanbul and Mombasa from five to seven a week from July.

According to Heritage Hotels chief executive officer Mohamed Hersi, more international wildlife enthusiasts are expected to flock to the Mara next month to watch the migration of wildebeest coming from Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

LIFETIME DREAM

He said wildlife lovers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, China and other parts of the world are set to tour the Mara to view the biggest wildebeest migration in the world.

“The wildebeest migration from Serengeti to the Mara is a lifetime dream safari to many wildlife lovers. Bookings for the summer are on the rise thanks to the migration,” he said.

Mr Hersi said the camps of Mara Intrepids and Mara Explorer are expected to enjoy occupancy of between 70 per cent and 80 per cent from July up from the current 50 per cent.

Ashnil Hotels managing director Rajan Bhandari, said the Ashnil Mara Camp will be busy from next month following a surge in bookings for the summer season.

“We have strong sales for the summer season as international tourists are visiting the country for game viewing in the national parks,” he said.

GAME DRIVES

Mr Bhandari added that apart from the Mara, he expects wildlife enthusiasts to tour Tsavo East National Park and Buffalo Springs Game Reserve for game drives.

Lofty Tours director Monika Solanki said summer bookings from the German market were on upward trend as the tourists are visiting the country for safari.

“Between July and August, we are expecting more tourists to visit the Mara, Tsavo East and West National Parks and Amboseli National Park for game viewing,” she added.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said international bookings were on the rise following aggressive marketing by the Ministry of Tourism and the Kenya Tourism Board in foreign markets.

Mr Balala added that in the last two financial years, the government had spent Sh2 billion on marketing the destination in both traditional and emerging markets.

“One of the European airline has registered 90 per cent flight bookings to Kenya for the summer season,” he said.

SECURITY

He attributed the jump in international bookings to improved security in the country and infrastructure projects such as the Sh327 billion Standard Gauge Railway.

In Mombasa, hotels are expected to be busy from next month when the high season begins.

Nyali International Beach Hotel general manager Lucy Kimani said the hotel will enjoy brisk business from next month when both local and international tourists visit Mombasa for holiday.

“During the high season, we expect to register between 80 per cent and 100 per cent occupancy as domestic bookings are increasing due to the Madaraka Express trains,” Ms Kimani added.

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