East Africa
Martin Dunford

Tamarind adds high-end hotel to its stable

Group chairman Martin Dunford said funds for putting up the hotel were a mix of debt and equity with plans afoot to open several outlets across East African capitals by the end of the year.

“Kenya has attracted global brands to its doorsteps and it is time Kenyan hospitality firms ‘sold’ their brands to other East African capitals as a way of boosting our revenues and presence to counter the competition,” he said.

The new hotel, that boasts of 160 double rooms and a 200 capacity hall for corporate functions, generated 150 jobs after hospitality graduates from local institutions were hired.

“The employees have good foundation training, but we shall expose them to our more established workers across our business to enhance their experience, especially on customer relations to ensure they lure our customers to make repeat visits,” he said.

Mr Dunford said he was also banking on Kenya’s prolonged stability to boost tourism numbers and hence higher earnings that will see the value of the businesses go up.

“We have always planned to raise funds from the bourse, but the tourism industry has suffered in the past, hurting our income and hence the value of individual properties.

But with the expected high boom of tourists and corporate functions, our business could attract interest among investors giving us good value when we decide to go to the market,” he said.

Last year, he said, was tough due to the prolonged electioneering period that saw tourists cancel bookings while Kenyans withheld their money awaiting conclusion of the highly emotive polls.

The firm, founded 46 years ago, has seen its senior directors hand over the mantle of leadership to the younger generation, who are currently running the enterprise. The senior directors are looking at new investment opportunities across East Africa.

“We have handed over successfully and we are happy to see our millenial directors understood the needs of their millenial customers. That is how a business succeeds from one generation to another,” he said.

Mr Dunford said 2018 was looking up for them with all their outlets in Nairobi and Mombasa enjoying good business returns, adding that sustained peace would continue attracting tourists to Kenya.

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