MCTA gives provisional green light to hotel levy by Mombasa County Government

MCTA GIVES CONDITIONAL OK TO PROPOSED HOTEL LEVY BY MOMBASA COUNTY

The Chairman of MCTA, renowned hotelier Mohammed Hersi, has given a conditional agreement to the proposals floated by recently elected Governor Mombasa County Ali Hassan Joho, that a levy be introduced on hotel rates to finance better waste collection and provision of water and sewerage services.

Tourism stakeholders in Mombasa have a long standing feud with the city council over poor, or often totally absent collection of garbage, cleaning the city and providing water to hotels and resorts.

Last year was a provisional agreement struck between the then Mombasa City Council, after the last elections turned into a county government, and the hotels, that a levy could be added provided the council would live up to their side of the bargain and actually collect garbage from hotels. When that not happened were resorts compelled to employ private companies at an added cost and renounced their provisional agreement with the council to avoid double payments.

In response to Joho’s promises to substantially improve services provided, Mr. Hersi was quoted in local Kenyan media to have said: ‘… so long as we get garbage collection services. This will save us from the agony of hiring private firms [because in the past] we had to incur double costs by paying levy to the council and to private companies since the civic body reneged on the garbage collection deal. Other coast based stakeholder representatives also agreed with Hersi, among them the coast representative of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, Kenya’s primary hospitality industry association.

Meanwhile have occupancies at the coast remained depressed, with averages at the South Coast as low as 35 percent, and while some resorts continue to enjoy significantly higher occupancies as a result of their regional and international market mix strategies, most have this year felt the pinch of the low season more than in past years.

This has resulted in almost unprecedented offers, in some cases on an all inclusive basis, which makes bargain hunting by upcountry visitors right now a favourite pastime and gives visitors from the wider East African region arguably the best deals for a coast vacation in a long time. Airlines flying to Mombasa, like RwandAir and Air Uganda, too are offering special fares during the current low season, making a beach holiday as affordable as it has not been in ages. Time to pack those bags and head to the Kenya coast then.

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