Tourism industry grows despite coronavirus

But outbreak in Italy is expected to reduced Malindi tourism

In Summary
  • Kenya’s tourism industry projects a steady GDP growth of 5.5 per cent.
  • Yet the the global industry has taken a hit from the Corona virus and Kenya is unlikely to be unscathed.
Tourists on Holiday at Jacaranda beach resort in Watamu Kilifi County on August 17.
Tourists on Holiday at Jacaranda beach resort in Watamu Kilifi County on August 17.

Kenya’s tourism industry is growing steadily after absorbing global shocks GDP growth projected at 5.5 per cent this year.

A latest report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales’ (ICAEW) shows the country’s economic outlook is moderately positive and the medium-term tourism prospects remain muscular despite the coronavirus outbreak. None of the suspected cases in Kenya tested positive.

“Kenya’s economic diversification strategies are increasingly buffering its economy from global shocks. More African countries are prioritising the promotion of tourism as part of this plan," ICAEW regional director Michael Armstrong said.

The number of tourist arrivals in Kenya increased to 132,019 in December from 121,070 in November last year.

The East Africa region has maintained its status as the continent’s growth hots-pot in the first quarter of 2020. Output has slightly decelerated to six per cent, being kept stable by the fact that the region boasts some of the fastest-growing economies globally, the report stated.

Although the report is upbeat about the growth in the regional tourism sector, the coronavirus is bad news in the global tourism sector, including Kenya.

With the outbreak in Italy, many Italians are choosing not to visit Malindi, for example.

Last week, France which is the world-leading tourism destination, indicated that sector profits had declined by 30 to 40 per cent, attributed in large part to the coronavirus.

The virus has global tourism firmly in its grip with a major impact being felt across the Asian continent, where leisure and business travel contributed $884 billion to GDP, the latest data compiled by the World Travel and Tourism Council shows.

The global airline industry is also facing huge financial losses and its first traffic decline in more than a decade.

Globally there have been more than 94,000 cases and 3,220 deaths according to a Reuters tally.

(Edited by V. Graham)