Holidaymakers should brace for higher hotel rates owing to the rising cost of energy and a general surge in the cost of living in the country, a hotelkeeper’s lobby has said.The industry players say they are contemplating a review of rates of hotel tariffs so as to stay afloat and wither the inflation in the country.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) chief executive Mike Macharia said hoteliers have no option but to transfer the cost burden to consumers.

“When you look at the prices of fuel and power it is costing us a lot, it is too high for tourist hotels to operate, and therefore we will have no option but to increase tariffs so as to stay afloat,” he said. Speaking on the sidelines of the 2022 tourism symposium in Mombasa, Macharia asked the government to adjust the cost of energy to cushion the sector.

“Anything that you sell in the hotel must make a profit for the hotel owner, so with this rising cost of inflation, we will have no choice but to increase the cost of services,” he added.

The players are also asking the government to review contracts of charter airlines so that more international flights can land directly in Mombasa with foreign tourists.“We are asking the government to allow countries that our airline does not go, to allow airlines from those countries to land in Mombasa directly, this will not affect our airline, instead it will increase the market for the airline,” he said.

Macharia said the government needs to rethink policies that will attract more tourists to the coast following a sharp decline in arrivals.

With open skies plans now a distant dream, passengers will continue to pay heavily for air tickets as countries move to protect their airspace in order to cushion their local carriers from the competition.

This happens as the hotel industry has been challenged to embrace new modes of marketing to tap into domestic tourists and stay afloat during this economically challenging time.

Labour chief administrative secretary Jackson Kalla said the sector is now experiencing an upward trajectory challenging players to diversify products.  “You should be able to focus on marketing and advertising targeting the domestic market to tap into it so that people can spend on it,” said Kalla.

By Fred Odanga Azelwa.