Categories: BUSINESSCOAST FOCUS

Kenya’s Tourism & Hospitality Industries Might Have Just Lost It

As a local kid whose upbringing almost entirely relied on the tourism & hospitality industry, I am afraid that I have to conclusively write-off any chances of industrial revival of this aspect of Coast’s economic backbone especially with the advent of Covid-19 and its impact on the general social and economic welfare of the entire Globe. Even in the event that Coronavirus is squarely DEFEATED and ultimately wiped off the surface of the earth, do you think our Government should consider (re)investing massively in this Industry to revamp it, given that its local and international economic performance has direct impact on several other key industrial players as well? Perhaps there’s still hope at the end of the tunnel. May be we should not give up just yet!

Sample this:
1. Kenya Agricultural Exports is bleeding. Kenya Horticultural sector (Flowers, fresh vegetables & fruits sales orders) are already on their bare minimum.

2. Tourism has borne the brunt of this devastation, especially due to the Travel restrictions that have been out in place all over the world. And this is to continue to the unforeseeable future.

4. Kenya’s Tourism sector primarily depends on visitors from developed countries which are so far adversely affected by the travel RESTRICTIONS and lockdown measures effected by the overwhelming rate of COVID-19 transmission.

5. Kenyas Travel & Tours Industry accounts for Tourism 1.1M jobs (8.3% of employment, making above 1.3% to the Country’s GDP)

6. The Hospitality Industry is shaken to the core; No public gatherings, most hotels have completely shut down. Workers laid off. Some went on upaid leave as they (hotel owners) understandably can’t sustain the normal operations with the minimal bookings available.

7. The Aviation Industry which greatly compliments Tourism sector is equally in the ICU, with a great reduction to its revenues

Example: KQ which which at the beginning of 2019, already had enough hyacinths in the name of debt, an outstanding balance of Ksh. 77.7 billion.

Domestic Tourism is the answer. I urge the Kenya Tourism Board to go back to the shelves and pick the Strategies highly regarding Local Tourism and Implement with a ruthless focus to reviving the travel, hospitality and tourism sector at large!

Due to the pandemic, the National Carrier has further grounded its operations.
They’re asking for Ksh. 9.2B monthly float to stay sustainable. Do the maths!

In Africa: Egypt, Kenya, SA, Zimbabwe, Rwanda; countries with a tourism industry have to do something so radical to keep us afloat.

Domestic Tourism is the answer. I urge the Kenya Tourism Board to go back to the shelves and pick the Strategies as regards Local Tourism and Implement with focus to reviving the sector!

Internationally:
British Airways just laid off tens of thousands.
It will be almost impossible to get a direct flight to most African countries. Some places will just be cut off for weeks at a time. It will be like 1970!

Points to note:
1. Travel restrictions (locally and internationally) is here to stay, as long as COVID-19 exists among us.

2. Domestic Tourism Strategies MUST be implemented.

3. Pray that our Government effectively contains the spread of COVID-19 sooner than later and that most restrictions be lifted to give room for economic recuperation and hopefully, expansion.

4) Reopening of our tourism attraction aspects eg Leisure Hotels and Resorts, Bush Camps, Nature Sanctuaries, research centres and Cultural Festivals under stringent preventive measures against COVID-19 penetration.

5) Consider low tax regimes for the next decade especially on products related to tourism and hospitality as a way of subsidising the economic recovery of this giant industry.

It could be more of a matter of when than how CORONAVIRUS will be totally defeated, however, COVID-19 isn’t here to stay any longer than previously recorded pandemics in history. There’s no storm that lasts forever.

Let’s all endear ourselves towards securing a healthy population for industrial revival, expansion and continuity. We should come out of this scourge stronger, wiser and more inspired insofar as good health is directly related to guaranteed high productivity. My prayer is that all regulatory authorities in the Tourism and Hospitality sector will be more focused on delivering a secure travel destination to local travelers anywhere in Kenya first and foremost, and a medically sound working environment to all industry players including direct and indirect employees in this industry. This way, the international Tourism and Hospitality market will soon be reassured that indeed Kenya’s touristic glory isn’t lost after all. That’s after the successful curbing of the globally dreaded Coronavirus.

As for now, let’s keep safe by observing the prevention protocol as relayed to us by WHO through our local healthcare regulation authorities.

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Published by
Amir Mangisi

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