Nakuru County: Over seventy percent of hotels in Nakuru County are back in operations after seven months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite returning to operations business is still low with hundreds of workers at home due to strict government regulations.
According to Nakuru County Tourism Association, the hospitality sector that has over 1,500 registered hotels and bars, they lost 95 percent of their revenue due to the pandemic.
This emerged during celebrations to mark World Tourism Day held in Sawela Lodge in Naivasha where stakeholders sought ways of promoting the sector.
According to the association chairman David Mwangi, the last seven months were the hardest and darkest for the hospitality sector.
Addressing the press, Mwangi noted that the sector was slowly recovering with investors now targeting local tourists.
“There has been a long holiday for Kenyans who are fatigued and many are now coming out and visiting local hotels and tourist destination points,” he said.
Mwangi noted that 80 percent of the hotels were closed after the pandemic hit the country but the facilities were slowly opening up.
“We have lost over 95 percent of our yearly earnings but we are now working on new packages to woo more local visitors,” he said.
His deputy Mark Kariuki from Naivasha added that they expected business to be low as the country headed towards the festive season in December.
The seasoned hotelier said that with upcoming capital projects in Naivasha, they expected the number of visitors to rise in the coming months.
“We already have a dry port in Naivasha and the ongoing works on the Lanet airport in Nakuru will definitely see an increase in the number of visitors,” he said.
Kariuki however took issue with the ongoing rehabilitation of Moi South Lake road noting that it should be extended to Kongoni area.
“This road is very critical to the economy of Naivasha as it leads to tens of hotels, flower farms and geothermal area of Olkaria and hence the need to fully rehabilitate it,” he said.
Another hotelier Stella Njenga challenged the Tourism Finance Corporation to come to the aid of hoteliers who had lost millions due to the pandemic.
She said that the hospitality sector supported thousands in the country including farmers who could not sell their products due to closure of hotels.
“We have hundreds of workers at home meaning more suffering for the families but we are slowly reopening up,” she said.