NEW NORMAL

Ministry of Tourism prepares for sector's recovery

Virtual tourism uses digital images and sensory feedback to simulate tourist attractions.

In Summary
  • The launch pad for the sector will  be domestic tourism which can take place through various forms of travel unlike international tourism.
  • Virtual tourism is also an opportunity the sector seeks to tap into post covid.
Tourists arrive at Moi international airport in Mombasa./FILE
Tourists arrive at Moi international airport in Mombasa./FILE

The tourism industry will never be the same as the world continues to deal with the ‘new normal’ that is the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, various leaders in the industry are hopeful for the recovery of the sector post-covid, plotting various strategies to recover the sector.

“The launchpad for the sector will have to be domestic tourism which can take place through various forms of travel unlike international tourism,” said Safina Kwekwe, Principal Secretary Tourism in a recent webinar.

 

She also added that the Ministry will also promote destinations closer to the country such countries in the East African region to be able to ensure faster recovery of the sector.

The Ministry has already started initiatives to boost domestic tourism such as putting 50 per cent discounts on park entry fees as from July 1.

The sector has also been grappling with job losses due to the pandemic and the Ministry promised to work with the industry to ensure they keep people in their jobs.

“We are establishing a Tourism Recovery Credit Scheme to help members in our industry access working capital,” said Safina.

She added that the Ministry was in talks with the government to get tax deferments in the sector to ensure recovery.

“We are known for our resilience in this industry and we will recover,” Safina concluded.

Virtual tourism is also an opportunity the sector seeks to tap into post-covid.

 

“As people stay home and social distance, they seek an escape which virtual tourism could offer,” said Charles Murito, Google Reginal Director Sub Saharan Africa.

Virtual tourism uses digital images and sensory feedback to simulate tourist attractions available at remote destinations.

Tourists visit the various sites from their homes and the sector can monetize this

However, according to some of the panellists in the webinar, travelling post-covid will not be cheap.

“We will need to discuss and decide who we want to attract so as to regain profitability therefore travel will not be cheap,” said Allan Kilavuka, CEO Kenya Airways.

The imposition of social distancing on aircraft will mean the end of cheap travel.

According to Kilavuka, the propositions to neutralize the middle seat in aircraft will make cost of travel 50 to 100 per cent higher.