Kenya is set to get an additional 4 000 hotel beds in the next five years. Speaking during the World Tourism Day fete in Nairobi, Director of Tourism, Keziah Odemba, said the expected multibillion-shilling investments showed that Kenya's tourism projections were positive.
The investors include Swiss Lenana Motel, Radisson Blu, Villa Rosa Kempinski, Golden Tulip, Amber, Ibis Styles and an array of upcoming brands.
Last year Kenya received 1.1 million tourists mainly entering for business and leisure, with 2017's projects currently set at 1.4 million. About 937 000 tourists were on holiday, 78 000 were business travellers and a further 136 000 visited for other reasons.
Online travel marketer Jumia Country Manager, Cyrus Onyiego, urged airlines and tourist hotels to introduce special rates to cater for local travellers.
Onyiego said Kenyans were keen to travel locally but were discouraged by exorbitant fees charged by the hotels.
“It is cheaper to fly from Dar es Salaam to Kigali than it is to fly from Nairobi to Mombasa. Hotels also need to come up with an innovative pricing model that embraces cheaper pricing for advance family bookings for locals,” he said.
Odemba said Kenya continued to record high tourism arrivals due to the relative peace that had continued to prevail, even after the Supreme Court annulled the August 8 presidential election results.
Tourism expert Carmen Nibigira reiterated her call to African governments to open up borders for intra-Africa travel, saying affordable airfares could be realised if governments eased all charges levied on incoming airlines as well as zero-rating of visa charges as Europe and America had done.