•This comes as the tourism industry in Kenyan and the region continues to feel the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, as international travel remains low.
•The firm's revenue from contracts with customers contracted to Sh1.07 billion, compared to Sh1.1 billion recorded last year.
Listed hospitality firm TPS Eastern Africa, which operates Serena Hotels, has reported a Sh557.3million loss after tax for the half-year ended June 30.
This comes as the global tourism sector continues to reel form the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, suppressing international travel.
The loss is however a reduction from Sh640.9 million reported in a similar period last year when vaccination against the virus was just beginning.
The firm's revenue from contracts with customers contracted to Sh1.07 billion, compared to Sh1.1 billion recorded last year, as operating loss closed at Sh254.8 million.
The hotel chain which temporarily closed its properties in Nairobi, Kampala and Dar es Salaam facilities for renovation in April to June 2020, is among thousands of hotels counting losses in the country and the region in the wake of the pandemic.
The tourism industry suffered further setbacks in the beginning of the year as international and regional source market countries tightened travel restrictions, in response to the outbreak of new variants of the virus.
Mandatory testing, quarantine, and in some cases the complete closure of borders, have all slowed down the resumption of international travel.
Kenya received 305,635 international arrivals between January and June this year, data by the Tourism Research Institute indicates.
Of these, 94,241 came to visit family and friends, 92,828 for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) purposes while 87,629 came for holiday.
15,811 were on transit, 8,637 for education, 3,592 for medical purposes, 1,722 for religious purposes, and 1,175 for sports.
The group yesterday noted that the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global tourism carried on into the first half of the year 2021.
Management says it has continued to implement effective contingency plans to mitigate risks and minimise the operational and financial impact on business, while ensuring that cash is sensitively managed and preserved across the Group.
“Given the pent-up demand in regional and international travel, the outlook for the second half of the year remains cautiously optimistic,” the Group says in its financial results released yesterday.
The major challenge continues to be the inability to predict the immediate , short and mid-term business outlook as the situation keeps evolving, it said.
It is however hopeful the ongoing vaccinations and introduction of coordinated travel protocols among countries will open up the travel and tourism industry, making the second half of the year fruitful.
“Our sales and marketing campaigns will continue to target the domestic and regional business, as international travel gradually starts to pick up,” it said.