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The sad state of Kenyan tourism

Mtwapa, Kenya
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The sad state of Kenyan tourism

The sad state of Kenyan tourism, that just seems to keep getting sadder

Under the headline ❝Hotels hit as foreign tourist arrivals drop❞ the Daily Nation reported yesterday that charter flights from Europe had dropped to less than 10 per week compared to 17 to 20 in the same period last year.

Edelweiss the Swiss airline has announced it will pull out of the Mombasa route next summer.

Bed occupancy in Mombasa was down to 50% from 70% in the same period last year. Hotels in Malindi and Watamu had less than 40% occupancy, while those in the South Coast are below 30%.

At the same time Qatar and Condor airlines had been refused licenses to fly into Mombasa to protect local airlines

Business Daily carried the same story

http://tinyurl.com/nb7w87x

❝Tourism sector is under increasing pressure to look for new sources of visitors as numbers from the traditional markets continue to dip.

Statistics for the 2012/2013 tourism performance released on Thursday showed an overall drop in numbers by nine per cent to 1.2 million from 1.3 million last year.

Earnings from the sector, that contributes 11 per cent to the GDP, reduced by seven per cent to Sh96 billion, down from Sh104 billion the previous year❞

http://tinyurl.com/p59t42e

❝Tourism shakes over political uncertainty. Bad policies and travel advisories see sector earnings rise and fall erratically....❞

http://tinyurl.com/p426uky

❝Tour firms to raise fees as VAT begins to bite❞

http://tinyurl.com/ohuxhkc

Isle of Man, United...
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31. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

My fourpennorth for what it is worth?

The problem is threefold.

First the mass market has dried up as anyone with half a brain would realise. It is unsustainable and the 'grazers' just move on some where else. Look at Torremolinas, CostaPacket, Algarve, Greece, Balearics, Turkey and maybe some places in the Far east. so all the infrastructure thrown up to serve this market is sufferering undercapacity. People don't go, airlines cut back flights and the spiral commences. It will 'level out' but the premium returns are gone for good.

Second. This is exacerbated by the trendy marketeers who delight in adding on frippery. You no longer get Tatty Crisps with a blue bag of Salt but "Pringles" at three times the price. Looks lovely on the adds. It adds nothing but cost to the bottom line. Much of the market just does not need that, or the 24/7 massage/manicures, Jacuzzis and bubbles now deemed to be de rigeur.

"Oh I must have my mud bath darling!" (Get it at home love and save your baubies!")

Three. Now stir into the mix of declining client base and add on fol de rols and consider pricing.

How many Lodges do you know would reduce their costs to fill beds? Exactly.

I was asked only last month to pay $750 pppn? Really! I did not book!

Lodges no longer offer the same value for money but what do they do? Charge more for exclusivity! "Hello, what on earth is exclusive about bumping around in a truck to see wildlife?"

Are those crowds at the Mara Crossing points ALL exclusive? Blimey! I need to go further up market if so!

Sadly a lot of Safari goers this past few years have gone for rather different reasons than to enjoy the wildlife and after that they again move on. "Oh I know it was expensive but it was once in a lifetime."

Get the point? There is NO repeat business, they ain't coming back for more.

So the pincers close tight. Top end have priced themselves off the board and the lower echelons can't afford the unnecessary trappings forced upon them, so they move on to the next cheap and cheerful 'undiscovered' sunshine spot. Cancun, Cuba or whereever. And East Africa pays the price of poor planning.

Too many beds seeking too few bums.

Safari WILL survive this, because the wildlife don't care whether you sleep in a rose petalled Four poster under the stars or under an Acacia. (under the same stars)

But it will have to change its business plan to maintain the numbers! Charging more for less is not the way to do it!

(Takes tongue out of cheek!)

Edited: 22 September 2013, 10:09
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32. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

Hehe. Why isn't there a like button?

Leeds
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33. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

I was trying to find CostaPacket on me maps and then realised who the poster was!

How do, Mfuwe ;-)

Isle of Man, United...
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34. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

How do Anif. Long time sithee!

nyc
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35. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

As I recall, when the worldwide economy went into the toilet, after '07... most hotels/lodges/camps - DID NOT RAISE their daily room/tent nt rates. Overall tourists visiting both Kenya and Tanzania, was down and many properties closed or staff was layed off.

Then came '10, as people started to (or wanted to) travel again, the rates started to increase by, on average, only 8% (industry standard worldwide is often 10%/annually). But then park fees increased, as well petrol fees whether for your safari vehicles and/or internal flights.

With few exceptions, on average since '10, room/tent rates have increased annually between 8-13%, along with inflation and living expenses both countries.

For that matter the cost of living at home increased similarly whether on rent, food, petrol, other. Did you expect numbers to remain stagnant for safari? And, for how many years?

Isle of Man, United...
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36. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

Sandi/Princess. that is all well and good but two or three further comments I think.

Rates rising at even 8% is way above inflation so why did they overprice?

Park Fees have risen but overall these have little impact on the cost of a $10,000 Safari. What is $50 or $60 for a park fee to a great spectacle compared to a bottle or two of wine or the aforesaid massage and mud treatment. and the Balloon flight and the Champoo. That is what is killing the trade as folks see a bottom line way out of touch with reality.

Nobody suggests prices to stagnate but very few are prepared to spend lavishly when better value is available elsewhere. I submit that sheer greed is driving many lodges prices skywards. It simply does not cost

an arm and a leg to feed guests decent food. Certainly not at some of the prices I have seen.

If there are empty rooms/beds, the price is too high. The staff still have to be paid (one hopes) and the overheads are unchanged so supply and demand should be allowed to play out.

Five otherwise empty rooms at $250 pp is a good filler on the bottom line. Or should they stay empty at the Rack Rate of $750 like the one I rejected.

37. Re: The sad state of Kenyan tourism

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