Kenya: Small hotels in Kisumu miss out as big ones reap big from Africities Summit

Kisumu — Small hotels in and around Kisumu have missed out on cashing in on hotel business that is expected to explode during the Africities summit which kicked off this week in the lakeside town.

According to Robinson Anyal, the chairman of the Lake Victoria Tourism Association, which covers 14 counties in western Kenya, said there was high expectation which has been dampened as the big hotels seem to be making the most of of the five-day event.

Anyal says the smaller hotels had their houses in order in anticipation of the larger number of guests attending the conference.

“As hoteliers and people who play a role in the industry, we appreciate the organizers of the event, however, there are areas where we had challenges, many investors put their efforts into the renovations/renovations before the summit but they have little to no bookings,” he said.

He said hotels in the 4.5-star category were fully booked nearly a week before the start of the event while those in lower categories had little to celebrate.

According to its analysis, Anyal says the majority of delegates were VIPs who opted for high-end hotels.

He says some hotels have not reached 50% reservations and they are in Kisumu town.

As the manager of the Parkview Hotel, he noted that of the 45 rooms, only 37 rooms have been booked. “but reports from other hotels in town show fewer reservations, their beds are empty,” he said.

The best hotels in Kisumu town include Sarova Imperial, Ciala Resort, Acacia, West Bestern, Sovereign, Pinecone, Le Savannah, Kisumu Hotel, Vittoria, Nyanza Club, Sunset among others.

Anyal says hotels in neighboring counties and those in Kisumu County were expecting an overflow of delegates and were eagerly waiting to tap into the numbers.

“All delegates have been booked in Kisumu town and most hotels in Kisumu are not fully booked so the numbers have been publicized,” he said.

Standards were high for hoteliers and they were accredited by the Tourism Regulatory Authority after shortlists.

“Some hoteliers were asked to do certain things, these adjustments involved financial inputs. To some extent, some got a return on these investments, those at the bottom of the hotel industry didn’t get much,” did he declare.

Speaking to Capital Newsbeat on Tuesday, the second day of the conference, Anyal said that going forward, transportation logistics should be given to local investors as a priority.

Furthermore, he lamented that investors in the tourism and transport industry are being left behind as most of the vehicles used come from Nairobi.

“The drivers transporting the delegates don’t know the geography of this city, they can’t locate the hotels,” he said.

James Wandia, who operates a taxi in Kisumu, says they had hoped to get delegates transported to the conference venue and hotels.

“We had hoped for a swim in business. It’s business as usual, we see big cars, big buses carrying delegates, we missed out,” he said.

According to Anyal, it is important to always work with local solutions, giving opportunities to people around before outsourcing.

“Tour operators in Kisumu have added more fleets, some have rented better vehicles, but there is no business,” he said.

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