State-owned hotels set for overdue facelift


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Refurbishment of State-owned hotels is set to kick off next month, ending years of neglect.

Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) Managing Director Orumoi Jonah said yesterday the Kisumu Sunset Hotel was first in line to get a facelift, followed by Kabarnet Hotel, Mombasa Beach Hotel and the Kenya Safari Lodges respectively.

“The refurbishments will start next month and conclude within six months,” said Mr Orumoi. He said works on Sunset Hotel would include sprucing up of its 50 rooms, elevator works, and refurbishment of communal spaces and installation of solar panels, which will see the facility repositioned as a family-friendly establishment.

He, however, declined to give the cost of the refurbishment contracts for the facilities. The Government has been unable to offload its stake in the hotels to the private sector since Parliament adopted a report that proposes the privatisation of State-owned companies and parastatals in 2013.

Under the programme, hotels in which the Government through TFC has minority shareholding including Intercontinental Hotel, Hilton Hotel and Mountain Lodge, have already been earmarked for privatisation. Other establishments that have also been earmarked for privatisation and in which TFC has majority shareholding include Sunset Hotel, Kabarnet Hotel, Golf Hotel, Mt Elgon Lodge and the Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels (Mombasa Beach Hotel, Ngulia Lodge and Voi Safari Lodge).

Low occupancy

Little has, however, been done so far to this end. Privatisation Commission Chief Executive Solomon Kitungu said the approved transactions (minority-owned hotels) had been delayed by low hotel occupancy in 2014 and 2015 when the Government made offers to the other shareholders.

“The low occupancy resulted in very low bids. However, the hotels remain in the programme until they are removed following decisions to do so,” said Mr Kitungu in a previous interview.

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