Integrated tourism group Tourvest said today its East African operation has seen an improvement in trading conditions in the East African region with bookings at its lodges improving by 25% this year compared to last.
Tourvest East Africa operates the Lemala tented camps and Kuria Hills permanent camp in the northern Serengeti, as well as the Wildwaters Lodge and the Adrift river-rafting company on the River Nile in Uganda. Additionally, Tourvest Destination Management is operational in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Gary Elmes, CEO of Tourvest’s Accommodation & Activities division, attributes the better trading performance to improved perceptions of that region, particularly as a result of Tanzania’s peaceful elections and a lack of security incidents, as well as an increase in international flights direct to Kilimanjaro. Internally, he said the company had completed a number of refurbishments at its lodges and had attended a number of well-structured and focused travel shows, which had increased interest in Lemala properties.
“This year we were also blessed with a text-book migration, the first in many years. Guests were lucky enough to witness action packed crossings from June to October this year leading to exceptionally high levels of guest satisfaction and social media hype for northern Serengeti,” says Elmes.
Leanne Haigh, Lemala Chief Executive and Director of Operations, says forward bookings are also ahead of the previous year and, given the revival of tourism interest in the East African region, Tourvest will be opening two new five star lodges in Tanzania within the next two years. The lodges will be styled on the hugely successful Lemala Kuria Hills lodge and will be located in Tarangirei National Park and the Central Serengeti. Additionally, Tourvest is currently undertaking an extensive refurbishment of Lemala Wildwaters, situated on an island on the River Nile near Jinja in Uganda. As part of the refurbishment, Tourvest will draw hydro-electric power to the island, which will also provide access to power to the neighbouring communities.
“East Africa is a quality destination offering visitors an array of attractions and we firmly believe in its tourism potential,” Haigh says.