STRATEGY

Cheaper flights and broader markets to spur tourism recovery - report

Challenges posing a risk to the recovery include infrastructure growth, terrorism concerns and capital funding for tourism SMEs

In Summary
  • The report on the economic impact of Covid-19 on East African economies notes the recovery of the sector requires new strategies.
  • Data from the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) shows that the country received 305,635 international arrivals in the period between January to June 2021.
Tourists upon landing at the Diani Airstrip.
Tourists upon landing at the Diani Airstrip.
Image: FILE

The growth of low-cost flight networks, broadening of source markets and collaborative strategies among sectors are key in the continued recovery in tourism, according to Deloitte.

The report on the economic impact of Covid-19 on East African economies dubbed 'Navigating new realities' notes the recovery of the sector requires new strategies

“For a sector that has historically contributed to about 9.0 per cent of Kenya’s GDP, the tourism sector faces an uphill task of recovery post Covid-19,” says the report by the professional services firm.

It notes that key challenges posing a risk to the recovery include infrastructure growth, terrorism concerns and capital funding for tourism Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

It further adds that as the third wave of the pandemic hits several countries, a raft of social distancing measures will see tourism levels in 2021 remain below historic levels.

“Despite this, the tourism sector is expected to post modest recovery in 2021 with international arrivals forecasted to rise by 37 per cent to 806k,” says Deloitte

To aid the recovery, the Kenya has set aside Sh2 billion for renovation in the hospitality sector, Sh1 billion for hiring 5,500 wildlife scouts and Sh1 billion for game parks and conservancies.

Deloitte notes that this is a significant increase in aid compared to the Sh500million the government set aside to aid the sector in May 2020, indicating a higher government intervention.

Kenya's tourism sector is on a slightly good trajectory with data from the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) showing the country received 305,635 international arrivals in the period between January to June 2021.

This is less 262, 213  of the total arrival recorded in full year 2020 which the East African Business Council has captured at 567,848, a good improvement.

During the six months reviewed by TRI, the US topped with 49,178 arrivals followed by Uganda and Tanzania which had 31,418 and 31,291 of its citizens visit Kenya, respectively.

China for the first time beat UK with a total of 18,069 arrivals as British visitors to Kenya totalled 16,264, a distant fourth among top five markets.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers chairman, Mike Macharia, has called Western countries who have imposed travel bans to lift them to allow full recovery.

We get about 1.2 million visitors from the international market every year. Without those, it is a struggle,’’ said Macharia.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala in a previous meeting in Nairobi said Kenya will rely on charter flights to boost tourism numbers during the challenging Covid-19 period.

Balala said the charter flights Kenya is receiving signals the growing confidence in the country's tourism products and preparedness against Covid-19.

According to a research by Fitch solutions on Kenya's projected tourism numbers, international arrivals are forecast to increase by 183 per cent to 806000 in 2021 while tourism earnings rise by 40 per cent from Sh0.5billion to Sh0.7billion.

This is due to the global vaccination drive and the revamp in global aviation.