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Tourism in limbo as Kenya reports first Covid-19 case

WHO has declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

In Summary
  • A Kenyan citizen of American descent who returned to Kenya on March 5 from the US via London UK tests positive.
  • On Friday the sector announced a precautionary facility worth Sh500 million to cushion it from ravages of the deadly virus.
Tourism CS Najib Balala
Tourism CS Najib Balala

Kenya’s tourism industry is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

Kenya has reported its first case. The Ministry of Health on Friday said a Kenyan citizen of American descent who returned to Kenya on March 5 from the US via London UK tested positive.

This is likely to exert more pressure on tourist arrivals.

“The tourism sector is most hit by the coronavirus. Already the US, which is Kenya’s biggest tourist source, has suspended flights to Europe while Italy and Germany have instituted a lockdown,” Tourism CS Najib Balala said.

Leading tourists market for Kenya, led by the US, are among the worst hit by the virus. The others are Italy, France, Germany and China, which are among 10 key tourist markets.

 

On Friday the industry announced a precautionary facility worth Sh500 million to cushion it from the ravages of the deadly virus.

The sector has presented proposals to Treasury seeking waivers on visa fees for tourists to bridge the impending arrival deficit.

It also wants a revolving fund established for hotels to borrow from to refurbish establishments, among other measures to cushion the industry.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic after more than 110,000 cases were reported in over 100 countries.

According to the Kenya Tourism Sector Performance Report for 2019, total arrivals increased 116 basis points to record a new high of 2.04 million compared to 2,025,206 recorded in 2018.

 

Arrivals from the US grew nine per cent last year to close at 245,437, up from 225,157 in the previous year, followed by Uganda and Tanzania at 223,010 and 193,740.

Other key sources are the UK with 181,484 arrivals, India 122,649, China 84,208, Germany 73,1509, France 54,979, Italy 54,607 and South Africa 46,926.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya