Some hotels in Mombasa are enjoying brisk business thanks to the Madaraka Express train service on the new standard gauge railway (SGR) and Idd celebrations.
PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort general manager Imtyaz Mirza, said the hotel had 82 per cent occupancy bolstered by visitors who travelled to Mombasa by rail.
Of the 82 occupancy, he added, 25 per cent were guests who travelled from Nairobi to Mombasa by Madaraka Express.
“The trains bring us a lot of guests during weekends because it is an affordable mode of transport and also take shorter time to arrive in Mombasa compared to buses,” he said.
On the other hand, Mr Mirza said the hotel had been busy due to Muslims who are celebrating Idd-ul-Fitr.
“The local Muslims have boosted business as they came to our hotel for lunch, relaxation on the beach, swimming, while children had fun at the Aqua Park,” he added.
Heritage Hotels Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Hersi said Voyager Hotel had more than 90 per cent occupancy rate due to the train service and Idd celebrations.
He noted the hotel has been getting lots of guests during weekends as a result of Madaraka Express.
Mr Hersi attributed the rise in domestic bookings to the cheaper rail transport where locals are able to save cash for accommodation.
“Locals from Nairobi nowadays travel to Mombasa to enjoy their weekends as they spend only Sh700 to come here compared to Sh20,000 they used to spend on air transport,” he said.
Mr Hersi, who is also the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chairman, said he expects hotels in Mombasa to continue enjoying booming business during weekends.
Reef Hotel's general manager, Michael Kai, said the hotel was busy as Muslims had come for lunch, swimming, resting on beach and leisure walks on the beach.
“During Idd-ul-Fitr, the hotel receives lots of guests from afternoon to evening as locals come here for lunch and beach activities,” he said.
Nyali International Beach Hotel general manager Lucy Kimani said the hotel prepared Swahili dishes to give their Muslim guests an Idd-ul-Fitr treat.
“We will also treat our Muslim visitors with Taarab music for them to celebrate Idd while there are fun events for children,” she added.
Hotels are expected to receive more international guests when the high season begins in mid-July.