The renowned Fairmount The Norfolk is set to reopen its doors to customers in April 2022 after staying out of business for 21 months.
Nairobi’s iconic hotel shut its doors in 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus virus pandemic which created a dent in its finances and resolved to dismiss all of its employees.
French hospitality giant Accor, who owns the hotel, said that they will reopen next month and they are now ready to host guests.
“We are pleased to announce that Fairmont the Norfolk will reopen on April 1, 2022 to welcome guests and visitors,” said Accor Kenya country general manager Mehdi Morad in a notice
“The hotel and Accor regional team have worked closely together to reopen the hotel and its facilities.”
Workers protested the layoffs, claiming that they were illegal and in violation of a previous agreement between them and management.
Closure of The Norfolk was the clearest pointer to the struggles the hospitality industry was facing as other major brands suffered from a lack of business due to the virus.
Its reopening, however, comes against the backdrop of improved activities in the hospitality sector as countries begin to ease coronavirus restrictions.
An average 96 percent of hotels are back to business compared to 81 percent in April, pointing to the continued recovery of the hospitality sector.
According to Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) hotel survey released in August last year, employment in the sector improved in June to 62 percent of the pre-COVID-19 levels, up from 49 percent in April.
Nairobi and Mombasa registered a higher average of bed occupancy and improved utilization of restaurants and conference services.
Activity in the sector is being driven by local guests who account for 80 percent of the total clientele who are seeking accommodation during the COVID-19 age compared to 20 percent who were foreign guests.
With international businesses now starting to kick off in the country due to the opening of foreign economies, Kenya’s tourism sector continues to witness activities for both international and local tourism subsectors.
“2022 will be a positive year we hope nothing erratic can come like the delta variant and the vaccine supply will be much better 2023, will be a recovery year are full recovery and back to bouncing to new targets will be 2024,” said Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.
The recovery of the sector, however, still depends on the country’s ability to contain the virus.
Since the 1980s, Norfolk has changed hands multiple times, eventually falling under the Fairmont brand, which was later purchased by France’s Accor hotels.