Hotels at the Kenya’s Coast region are enjoying a tourism boom over the festive season, with the biggest support coming from domestic tourists who have thronged the sandy beaches to usher in the New Year.
A spot-check shows most of the hotels in the region are operating at 100 percent bed occupancy ahead of the New Year.
Hoteliers say the occupancy rates are overwhelmingly local tourists.
The growing numbers of domestic visitors are attributed to improved infrastructure connectivity, including the Madaraka Express SGR train service between Mombasa and Nairobi.
“International tourists slow down at this season as local tourism grows. The domestic tourism comprise 60 to 70 per cent of the guests.
“In Diani, Kwale County, the airport is very busy flying in local tourists boosting the sector,” the Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohamed Hersi said.
In an interview on Sunday, the hotelier said seven flights arrived at the Ukunda airstrip ferrying in domestic tourists to usher in the new year.
“Many local tourists are also thronging the beaches in Diani and Mombasa, we are very optimistic that the sector will continue to thrive in 2019,” he added.
The beach hotels have lined up major entertainment activities for their guests as they enjoy brisk business
At the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa revellers will be entertained by different musicians, including the Sauti Sol band and Gilad, who will grace the New Year’s Eve party at the facility.
In Kwale, Kaskazi beach hotel sales manager Daniel Ogechi said they are expecting more than 400 guests.
“We will have a Beach Party and a live band to entertain guests. We are expecting 400 guests, majority of whom are locals… We have also lined up a number of children activities,” Mr Ogechi said.
Sarova Whitesands general manager Siddharth Sathe lauded Kenyans for embracing domestic tourism and promoting the sector.
Mr Sathe said the hotel has enjoyed 100 percent occupancy during the December holidays and situation is still the same as the new year draws in visitors from all parts of the country.
“We also have international guests camping at the hotel, domestic tourists at the hotel form about 70 percent. The hotel has been full over this festive season. Our establishment is supported by domestic tourists,” Mr Sathe said during an interview with the Nation.
He said security has been beefed up at the hotel.
“With the help of police officers and other internal security procedures, within and around the hotel has been secure,” Mr Sathe said.
At Jomo Kenyatta public beach, one of the most crowded seashore during this festive season, police officers were seen patrolling to ensure security as the beach goers enjoy themselves.
Juma Masika, a lifesaver, said safety measures are very well stipulated at the beach.
“We have not witnessed any deaths at the beach. There are strict regulations placed prohibiting the visitors at the beach from indulging in activities that may lead to loss of life,” Mr Masika said.
However, small and medium enterprise (SMEs) owners along the beach complained of dwindling business compared with last year.
“Last year, we did not have empty chairs or sparsely populated areas at the beach. This year, the number of visitors is lower compared to last year. This is due to economic challenges in our country,” Mr Mbaraki said.
Musa Moses, a boat rider, said visitors are complaining of not having money.
“People will come at the beach, but they will not spend money on most of the facilities. For example, the for the boat rides we depend on international tourists,” he said.
World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021
World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.
“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.
He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.
The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.
People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.
For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.
Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.
“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.
Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans
The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.
“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”
According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.
Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans
The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.
Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.
Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.
Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options.
This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.
The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.
The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.
The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).
The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.
The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour; Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).
The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.
Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”
He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.