Does the reopening of Diani’s Indian Ocean Beach Club signal a change in trend for Kenya’s tourism sector?

INDIAN OCEAN BEACH CLUB TO RE-OPEN BY END OF NOVEMBER

(Posted 05th November 2014)

Inspite of the ongoing challenges tourism which the Kenya coast faces have the owners of Jacaranda Hotels and their top management yesterday announced that they will reopen the Indian Ocean Beach Club by the end of November in time for Kenya’s long school holidays and the upcoming festive season.

This is the first major reopening of a Diani based resort after the hotel had closed over two years ago and in the light of the British anti-travel advisories which resulted in guests being evacuated earlier in the year and charter flights halted it is a decision of some courage which may be that beacon of hope the industry needs right now.

The principal of the hotel group, which also includes the four star Jacaranda Hotel in the Westlands area of Nairobi and the Lake Elementaita Safari Lodge, is Ms. Lucy Karume, the current Chairperson of the Kenya Tourism Federation, Kenya’s tourism private sector apex body. More recently did Mr. Killian Lugwe join the group as Chief Executive, coming from Serena Hotels where he started and advanced his career, including the preopening and opening of the Kampala Serena Hotel before he transferred for the group to Nairobi.

It appears that some extensive renovations have taken place in recent months at the Indian Ocean Beach Club and when the resort opens its doors no doubt guests will be able to enjoy a fresh look.

It is with the number of guests some other parties from Diani have expressed their unease with one saying: ‘That is a big decision and WTM if of course the place to announce it. Business is still very weak, especially from the UK, but the owners have their own reasons no doubt to show flag and confidence. How this translates into occupancy it remains to be seen. For us at Diani it is a positive move because every additional guest will spend money, not just in the hotel but at the little shops along the beach road. Lugwe also has a good reputation as a hotelier and the combination perhaps will give them the results they need to justify the investment and the reopening’.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Kenya’s tourism cabinet secretary Phyllis Kandie’s meeting with officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office yesterday during which on top of the agenda were the contentious anti-travel advisories which Kenya has repeatedly asked Britain to tone down or remove altogether.

Added information from WTM speaks of strong interest in Kenya as was the case to fellow exhibitors Uganda and Rwanda but how and when this translates in to heads in beds, only time will tell. For now, click on www.magicalkenya.com www.visituganda.com and www.rwandatourism.com for added information on the three destinations which are now accessible through a common single tourist Visa.

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