ECONOMIC SURVEY

Covid-19 slashes tourism earnings by 43.9 per cent

The Government suspended international passenger flights and introduced a number of restrictions affecting travel

In Summary
  • According to the Economic Survey 2021, the sector's earnings declined from Sh163.6 billion in 2019 to Sh91.7 billion in 2020.
  • International visitor arrivals declined sharply by 71.5 per cent to stand at 579,600 in 2020 from 2.03million in 2019.
Domestic toursits play in the pool at Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa
WORKERS' RIGHTS: Domestic toursits play in the pool at Sarova Whitesands Beach Hotel in Mombasa
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

The containment measures put in place by governments across the world to curb the spread of Covid-19 saw the country's tourism earnings decline by 43.9 per cent.

According to the Economic Survey 2021, the sector's earnings declined from Sh163.6 billion in 2019 to Sh91.7 billion in 2020.

The Government suspended international passenger flights between March and July and introduced a number of restrictions such as curfews, movement, social gatherings among others, to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

As a result, international visitor arrivals declined sharply by 71.5 per cent to stand at 579,600 in 2020 from 2.03million in 2019.

Domestic tourism was equally constrained by restriction of movement of persons within Nairobi Metropolitan and Mombasa as well as suppression of most socio-economic activities during the second and third quarter of 2020.

During the period under review, hotel bed-nights occupancy rate contracted by 58.0 per cent to 3.8 million.

Even so, Kenyan residents dominated hotel bed nights’ occupancy in all areas accounting for 56.2, 61.0 and 65.4 per cent of bed occupancy in Nairobi, Coast and Game lodges, respectively.

Residents of USA mainly preferred Nairobi and Game lodges accounting for 7.9 per cent and 9.8 per cent of hotel bed occupancy in those areas respectively, while residents of Germany, France and other European countries preferred the Coast.

The number of international and local conferences held declined by 87.0 per cent and 75.2 per cent to 28 and 1,176 respectively, in 2020.

Visitors to national parks and game reserves declined by 65.1 per cent to 1.03million in 2020.

Similarly, the number of visitors to museums, snake parks and historical sites declined by 83.8 per cent from 990,200 in 2019 to 160,700 in 2020.

The number of international conferences held declined from 218 in 2019 to 28 in 2020.

Consequently, the number of delegates attending international conferences reduced significantly from 72,011 in 2019 to 1,044 in 2020.

Local conferences held dropped by 75.2 per cent from 4,743 in 2019 to 1,176 in 2020 while number of delegates attending local conferences decreased by 88.5 per cent to 80,139 in 2020.

Conference capacity utilization declined from 12.6 per cent in 2019 to 5.2 per cent in 2020.

This was as a result of adoption of virtual technology for conferencing in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

The sector is steadily recovering with the ongoing vaccination drive and easing of restriction measures.

Tourism CS Najib Balala expects the tourism sector to return to normalcy in 2024.