Fairmont reopens Mount Kenya Safari Club after Nairobi’s Norfolk

The Fairmont chain of hotels has reopened its third facility on easing of the Coronavirus crisis in the hospitality industry.

Nanyuki-based Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is the latest outlet to resume operations after a 26-month closure.

The reopening of the hotel run by French hospitality giant Accor comes months after it resumed operations at Fairmont Mara Safari Club and Fairmont the Norfolk in Nairobi.

Low bookings due to the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the hotels to halt operations and send most of their staff home in April 2020.

“We have resumed operations at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club and we are working with 125 workers down from 138 when we closed operations in April 2020,” Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Country General Manager Mehdi Morad told the Business Daily.

The hotel closed its doors on April 1, 2020, and sent most of its staff home as bookings remain low due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The closure came at a time the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) survey on hotels had shown that bed occupancy remains low, averaging 23 percent in November and October compared to 24 percent.

The doors of Nairobi’s iconic Fairmont the Norfolk were reopened in April 2022 after the facility shut down for over 21 months amid the coronavirus crisis.

A dispute over salary cuts forced the owners of the property to close its doors indefinitely and sack all staff nearly two years ago in a row that followed the disruption and revenue loss arising from the pandemic.

The closure also came weeks after Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal sold his stake in the Fairmont The Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Club to Nepalese tycoon, Binod Chaudhary, for a reported Sh2.8 billion.

The prince has been reorganising his portfolio months after being detained in Saudi Arabia’s sweeping crackdown on corruption.

Net tourism net earnings jumped 47 percent in the first quarter of this year on the easing of the slump that has hit the industry over the last two years, latest Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data shows.

Travel account receipts jumped from Sh15.2 billion in the first quarter of 2021 to Sh22.4 billion between January and March this year.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

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