•The tourism sector is currently one of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak presenting the sector with a major and evolving challenge on both travel supply and demand,particularly in Kenya’s source markets
•Tourism players agreed that more emphasis needed to be placed on local and regional tourism post-Covid-19
Ministry of Tourism and stakeholders have asked players to adopt to the current evolving scenarios to ensure the tourism and hospitality industry recovers during and post the Covid-19 crisis.
Speaking during an online tourism stakeholder conference Tourism cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the industry needs to restart and reset from a new slate going forward.
“We need to make sure we utilize the ever-evolving digital world which we are all now compatible with and ensure that conservation and wildlife which are a key component of the industry are enhanced,” Balala said.
He also advocated for legislation and re-engineering of the industry, establishing recovery funds for SME’s, and a relook on the aviation and travel sector.
The conference brought together local and international tourism industry professionals to discuss the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry locally.
The tourism sector is currently one of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak presenting the sector with major and evolving challenges on both travel supply and demand, particularly in Kenya’s source markets.
Italy, one of the biggest source markets for the country's tourism sector with chartered planes landing twice in Mombasa, has been one of the hardest-hit European countries.
CEO of E-Tourism Frontiers Damian Cook said that the industry will need to embrace a new age post-Covid-19 that will require players to be alive to the new dynamics that will be at play.
“We will be in a situation where industry players will be required to support each other in order to ensure that things are running. Bilateral agreements, changes, and increased cost of aviation and regulated trade will be the order of the day.” Cook said.
The tourism players agreed that more emphasis needed to be placed on local and regional tourism post-Covid-19 since the international traveler will be less willing to travel immediately due to the effects of the current lockdowns and effects of Covid-19 globally.
They also agreed that the industry needs to leverage on the adversity to ensure that it resumes in a much better situation than it was pre-Covid-19 by harnessing and responding to the crisis through ways that create a bright future for the industry post the crisis.
“The other key component is to change the mindset for domestic and regional markets which will be key. Transforming the industry will be to make sure that we do what the new market will want, that is why we must relook at what our offering to the tourist will be.” Balala added.
Travel restrictions and flight cancellations and frequency reduction have significantly diminished the supply of both domestic and international services while demand continues to retract.