02-09-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
"Let's hope this season is a little longer than usual."
That's what you often hear from hoteliers, restaurateurs and shopkeepers in Malindi and Watamu who probably whisper in Diani, Nyali and the surrounding area.
Obviously we are not talking about the climate, nor about the days that begin to give 15 minutes more than sunset, but about the influx of tourists and their earnings.
August on the coast of Kenya is a season invented by the need to accommodate both Kenyans on holiday (Nairobi closes offices and other activities for much of the month, as well as schools that reopen today) and foreigners, especially Europeans.
September (come on, it's time to migrate...) takes them all back and at most welcomes some latecomers from "last minute", savers looking for offers, families from countries where lessons start again in the middle of the month, groups that choose the combination safari-sea (including the tail of the great migration), young adventurers and pensioners who perhaps already know the beauty of the landscapes on the shore of the Indian Ocean in this period.
Where Kenyans play, there are more certainties: from now until Christmas on the coast we will see them only on weekends, including some bridges given by the many national holidays.
This autumn, Mashujaa Day (Day of the Heroes of Independence, which replaced the feast that celebrated the birth of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta) is bad, because it falls on Sunday, October 20. A nice long weekend is planned for Jamhuri Day, which falls on Thursday, December 12.
Where there are also Italian tourists, inevitably there are less certainties and if August does not "pull" are expected flashes until the classic "November of retirees", and then prepare for the real tourist season, what for Europe is winter and here means hot, beaches, sea and savannah.
While bookings for Christmas and January are already flocking, from next week, as always, the real tourists will branch out.
In this sense Watamu, thanks to the capable and dynamic tour operators, such as Alpitour and Veratour, but also Eden Viaggi, can still smile: we remain on acceptable employment rates.
For all the others in the hospitality sector, the imperative is more than ever to rely on all-round marketing, looking at all possible markets and focusing on sectors that can free tourism from the cages of the seasons: wedding tourism, conferences, sports and events.
There are still too many activities that live by the day and tie their fortunes to "chance". Without planning, without investment, as if it were the ancestral instability of Africa to dictate the rules. All right, if then their managers and owners were not always the first to complain.
To create these premises (and Diani in this is further ahead than the north coast) the key word is only one: unity. In a recent meeting in Malindi between the Ambassador of Italy in Kenya Alberto Pieri and some entrepreneurs from Malindi and Watamu, the same highest representative of our government indicated the need to be ready and cohesive to create reasons of attraction that can convey even in periods of low season, tourists and travelers already present in Kenya and to opt for those who are undecided about this or other destinations for a choice dictated not only by "sun warm sea". Malindi has the opportunity to propose itself as a center of events, trade fair and cultural for example, Watamu can focus on sporting events and for young people.
The salvation of these destinations and the opportunity to give work and grow its population necessarily come from the creation of a unique season. If not for holidays or climate, at least for common initiatives, events, good will.
Otherwise, stick to chance.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
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