Peddling wrong data is a crucial mistake say coast hoteliers


(Posted 25th November 2013)

Utter rubbish’ and ‘When will these people ever get their facts right’ were just two of nearly two dozen comments received by this correspondent over an article posted by Kenya’s Daily Nation a few days ago, which spoke of 30 charter flights a week and suggested a ‘Tourism Boom’ amid acid comments from coast hoteliers operating at half their occupancies from last year and talk of worse to come.

One regular commenter, for obvious reasons wishing to remain unnamed to avoid being torn into by scribes with a now surely injured ego – something which in his mail equally applies however to the aiport manager in Mombasa who was challenged to own up and provide the real number of flights to Mombasa – had this to say, the mail slightly altered to avoid even a hint of detectability:

Reference is made to yesterday’s article in the NATION.
Considering that this incorrect reporting is widely read one must not be
surprised that our industry is not given any form of rescue package but instead is taxed more and more.
If I am not mistaken we have / will have every week
– 05 flights from Germany
– 01 flight from Switzerland until Feb 24 only
– 01 flight from NL
– 01 flight from BE
– 01 flight from the UK
– 02 flights from Poland
– 05 flights from Italy with one of them for 01 Christmas rotation only and 02 ending in February already and the 2 others in March
– 01 flight from Sweden w.e.f. Dec 24 only
– 01 Flight from Czech Republic w.e.f Dec 28 to Feb only
– This totals to 18 Max.

I stand to be corrected but can some please ask Mr. Kangugo when Mombasa will
‘’hit’’ 30 flights per week and how many of these flights operate in combination with TZ and ZNZ.
Can ‘someone’ please also try and explain to Mr. Ringa of the Nation that:
– The majority of the above charter rotations are shared with ZNZ and JRO and so are ET’s and TK’s scheduled flights with the bulk of pax getting out in ZNZ and / or JRO
– Our industry cannot possibly make enough profit in 03 months to survive 09
other months with very few (5-6) charter flights only per week for some
30.000 beds (and jobs…) in the continued absence of more scheduled flights to MBA

– I am told that Mr. Ringa interviewed the MD a big safari company who
explained why Edelweiss is stopping to fly to MBA:
– a few years ago Kenya had 80% market share now reduced to 48% with the bulk
booking TZ and ZNZ
– a few years ago Kenya had 37-38.000 Swiss tourists per year – now reduced
to 18-19.000 with the market share having shifted to TZ and ZNZ
– I wonder if this will be also reported by Mr. Ringa in the Nation

Stinging criticism this is, suggesting that the author is either inept of else otherwise motivated to peddle such a wrong picture of the tourism industry at the coast, with whoever gave the information from Mombasa airport however equally culpable. Talking optimism should not be mistaken for simply peddling fiction or outright untruths which, like in this case, can be unmasked with ease and leave future statements of such nature immediately under the cloud of suspicion and mistrust. There is no wonder that the unease among coast hoteliers is growing, especially as such articles have already been used by county governments to justify their latest round of tax increases, saying ‘but the hotels are doing very well again, it is even written in the papers’.

There is todate still no indication that a national dialogue for the private and public sector is being arranged to openly and candidly discuss the present state of the industry and the where to and how to get there, something felt by many of my readers to be of crucial importance, as only by dialogue can a substantive strategy for a recovery marketing blitz in key existing and crucially important new and emerging markets can be formulated. Watch this space.

2 Responses

  1. Dear Wolfgang,

    Thank you for again and again argumenting and publishing articles of high value to the Travel trade.

    With regards to calculations on visitors to the Kenya Coast I recommend that contact is made to Kenya Airways Head Quarter as many are brought to the coast by KQ, some directly via NBO and a lot having spend time on safari up country first.

    I mention not in any way diminish the problem but rather to help to a full picture

    Kind regards

    Per Caroe
    Country Manager Nordic & Baltic countries
    Kenya Airways
    c/o Air France KLM
    Vester Farimagsgade 7, 6.
    1606 Copenhagen V

    Cell: +45 24 49 45 10

    1. Thank you for reading and for your compliments.
      I have on several occasions in the past made mention of Kenya Airways’ regular flights between Nairobi and Mombasa and KQ’s role in supporting Kenya’s tourism industry is beyond doubt. However, sections of the tourism industry have also expressed their concern about the morning departure from Mombasa now missing the daylight flight to Amsterdam, something which makes flying back home a little more difficult than it ought to be. Others have also proposed that KQ starts to route direct flights from Europe via Mombasa and I know that such operational aspects are always being reviewed with the aim to improve traffic flow.

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