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Domestic tourism key to sector’s recovery – hotel chain

Africa’s domestic travel market remains key in driving recovery of the sector post Covid-19, global hotel brand Minor Hotels has said.

Minor Hotels Regional Director for Africa, Mark Havercroft, yesterday said domestic tourism is the first segment to support recovery before international tourists begin inter-continental travels.

To ensure local and regional tourists appreciate the sector, hotels and travel industry players must ensure they provide attractive packages, Havercroft said.

“Domestic tourists will be ready and willing to take advantage of exciting and affordable travel opportunities long before their international counterparts are back on the scene,” he said.

“It’s up to the industry to get smart about how to attract this market in a way that will help reignite the sector,” he added.

The hotel chain is expecting to open its Avani Nairobi Suites serviced apartments later this year, targeting mid-scale and extended-stay markets.

In Africa, Minor Hotels have operations in Zambia, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya.

“African travellers both need and desire and, in both instances, what they can afford to spend,” Havercroft said.

He said there is need to have price tags that international markets have been prepared to pay, while still offering domestic travellers the same opportunities within their own countries.

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated international travel restrictions have turned the spotlight on the need for Africa’s hospitality industry to turn its attention to the domestic travel market right on its doorstep.

The industry contributed 8.5 per cent or $194.2 billion (Sh20.925 trillion) to the continent’s GDP in 2018, largely from spend on leisure travel, the majority of it coming from international travellers.

Covid-19 restrictions have however hampered international travel with Europe, one of the leading tourism sources, advocating for intra-European travel to help support its own industry and businesses.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has projected international tourists will start flocking the country later in 2021.

Hotels in Kenya are counting on the domestic market to support the industry’s recovery.

This article was first published by The Star Kenya on the 28 July 2020

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