Devastating Effects of Corona Virus in Kenya

Kenya’s tourism industry has been the hardest hit over the past couple of years, from the 2007-2008 post-election violence to the 2016 Al-Shabaab terrorist attacks. The industry has really been on its knees a couple of times.

The East African country has lost roughly Ksh.80 billion (USD $752 million) so far in revenue, due to Corona Virus (COVID-19).  The Tourism sector is one of Kenya’s leading source of revenue, raking in roughly USD$ Billion in the year 2019 and was expected to grow an upwards of 2 % this year.

Losses are stemming from:

  • Cancellation of bookings during the peak season (July to September)
  • Government Lock-down rules in the European and American countries (Kenya’s largest source of market)
  • Job losses

The Government of Kenya has tried to minimize these losses by imposing certain measures like injecting a Ksh. 2 Billion relief capital fund to the tourism stakeholders like hoteliers, tour operators and safari agents. However this has been of little to no avail as the poverty levels in Kenya are way too high.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has been on record saying that things will get tougher for the Tourism industry in future.

‘’OUT OF BUSINESS’’

”The entire tourism sector is out of business. There are major job losses,” Balala said. “We are on our knees.”

Businesses in Kenya have been the hardest hit by this COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the hotels have been operating on a bare minimum with some reporting permanent or indefinite closure.

Hotel staff and Safari guides have lost their jobs while the lucky few have been put on retainer salaries and maintained their jobs.

Beach vendors along the sandy Mombasa beaches have been affected too after the Mombasa county government issued an indefinite closure of all public beaches.

Wildlife conservation efforts have been curtailed, as there have been no donor funds and relief funds to support their non-profit efforts.

WHATS THE WAY FORWARD?

On June 6th 2020, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta bowed down to the piling pressure to rejuvenate the economy by lifting the 60-day movement ban in and out of Nairobi Metropolitan area (Kenya’s economic powerhouse).

In that regard, tourism stakeholders that is tour operators, car rental agencies, travel agencies and hoteliers were given several guidelines to follow for compliance and operation license so as to resume business.

The Government have instituted a couple of measures to help curb the pandemic like:

  1. Regular testing of hotel staff, Safari Drivers and tour guides
  2. Issuing COVID-19 certificates to the healthy travelers while imposing strict quarantine to infected individuals.
  3. Practicing of social distancing by ensuring hotels, vehicles and offices are at half occupancy so as to prevent crowding

Find out more on the government Health and Safety control measures

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

The Ministry of Tourism has been holding various talks and webinars, discussing the future of Kenya’s volatile tourism industry and ways to make the sector relevant. Some of the resolutions include:

  1. Promoting domestic tourism by giving travel incentives and discounts to local tourists.
  2. Setting up a USD $5 Million relief fund. This fund will be used as soft low-interest loans to tour operators and safari stakeholders so as to boost their services.

Brief Description of Asili Adventure Safaris & Travel Ltd.

Asili Adventure Safaris & Travel Ltd. is an authorized tour operator based in the capital Nairobi, Kenya. We offer private and exclusive safari packages in East Africa. From the Gorilla Safaris in Rwanda, to the Kenya – Tanzania Combined safaris.

Asili will offer nothing short of the best African safari vacations. Here are some of our recommended safari packages: