Africities Summit serves a mixed bag for businesses

Thursday, May 26th, 2022 11:26 | By
Africities Summit. PHOTO/Courtesy

The just-concluded Africities Summit in the lakeside city of Kisumu, which attracted more than 10,000 delegates recorded several hits and misses.

The city was a beehive of activities following the unprecedented number of visitors and as Business Hub learnt, homeowners who turned their houses into lodging facilities or a Bed and Breakfast, (B and B or BnBs), to host the visitors made a killing.

A spot check at the city established that most visitors opted for homestays as hotels became expensive, coupled with indications that the hotels would be full during the period. “I allowed my house to be used by visitors who paid Sh150,000 for the duration of their stay,” said Kolwa Central MCA George Olwal, who also offered his car to be used for transport.

Olwal told the Business Hub that he had to relocate to another house in Milimani Apartment’s in the city, to allow the visitors use his homestead. “They wanted to enjoy a seductive blend of personal hospitality, landscape, culture, and leisure,’’ he explained. The guests also wanted to enjoy their stay here off the busy city crowds and noise hence the choice.

Olwal said he is not complaining, because, he reaped.

He was happy that Kisumu City was able to offer unique local experiences to the world and allowed guests to mingle and learn cross cultures and be served vegetable ingredients from farm to table.

The guests from West Africa enjoyed the natural ambience in foots hills of Kolwa, in a unique environment where they also ate fresh fish from the lake.

Local markets

“They would go for spinach and spider weed (dek), and cook on their own buy locally fermented milk in the local markets and then have their sumptuous meal at will,’’ claimed Olwal. He said it was such a nice experience and lessons to learn from the visitors and even conference organisers, that people need to make their homesteads neat and well structured.

But the big hotels did not record as many guests as they thought, perhaps some must have opted for the BnBs. Chairman at Western Kenya Hospitality Leaders Association Robinson Anyal said not many were full to capacity as anticipated.

‘’Yes, it’s true there were many visitors but we didn’t book them or lodge them, we wonder where they were operating from,’’ he claimed, adding however, that most big hotels recorded a business boom.

Dismal returns

“It was a mix of win and lose. There are those who got good business, others did not. May be next time they will get,’’ Anyal said. For the Bar Owners Association officials, they didn’t make as much money as they thought. Chairman Daniel Ouma said, they registered dismal returns during the season.

Visits were generally low in some of the bars and restaurants because there were also security warnings on certain areas for guests to avoid, he claimed. He hoped that they will make up in the campaign season.

At the summit conference centre, work to complete the Sh1.4 billion international Convention centre will still carry on unabated.

While fielding questions from journalists at the end of the 9 africities summit, Defence Cabinet CS Eugene Wamalwa said it will be done. “We will complete the works by December,’’ he said .

The facility was meant to host the summit, but by the time of the event, it was still only 70 per cent complete.

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