TOURISM EXPO

Vaccination drive will boost Kenya's tourism sector - Balala

He said this at the opening ceremony of the this year’s Magical Kenya Travel Expo

In Summary
  • Tourism is one of economic sectors that were worst hit by covid.
  • The annual event which was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19
Tourism CS Najib Balalan during the reception of contributions towards the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival
Tourism CS Najib Balalan during the reception of contributions towards the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival
Image: HANDOUT

Kenya's ongoing vaccination programme will boost the confidence of international visitors, the Ministry of Tourism has said. 

Opening this year’s Magical Kenya Travel Expo (MKTE), Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the safety of travellers globally is now a priority due to Covid—19.

Balala said tourism industry players should draw from the learnings the pandemic in marketing their products and handling of travellers.  

“As we move forward, we must take into consideration the fact that we now have a changed traveller, a traveller who is more health conscious and make decisions with this consideration,” Balala said.

The annual event which was postponed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic has attracted exhibitors from about 40 countries.

They include tour operators, travel agents, tour operators and destination agencies from Kenya’s key tourism source markets in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas

Balala said the ministry will soon develop a post- Covid-19 pandemic mitigation strategy to speed up the recovery of the tourism sector that was greatly affected by he pandemic.

 “To keep pace with the fast-changing needs of visitors and challenges faced by the tourism industry, the industry has to act swiftly and adjust its strategies for tourism development from time to time,''Balala said.

Tourism is one of economic sectors worst hit by Covid-19.

Hotel bookings are way below capacity, and some lodges in game parks have temporarily closed operations until tourist numbers pick up.

Kenya’s tourism ministry recorded a sharp drop of 57.9 per cent in food and accommodation services last year, which cost the sector Sh110 billion or ($1 billion). 

Revenue from tourism in Kenya fell by 80 per cent in 2020, prompting Balala to declare that the sector was on its knees mid last year. 

Before the pandemic, the tourism and related sectors employed more than two million people, many of whom have now either lost their jobs or earn less.

A survey of key stakeholders in Kenya’s tourism sector at the start of the pandemic last year found that slightly more than 80 per cent of companies engaged in tourism had reduced  employees.

At least 32 per cent reported reducing the pay of the remaining employees by over 70 per cent