Speaking during an online tourism stakeholder conference on Tuesday, 28 April 2020 christened ‘Post Covid-19 Leap Forward’ Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said that the industry needs to ensure it adapts to the currently evolving scenarios to ensure that it recovers much faster.
“We have to restart and reset the industry from a new slate going forward. We also need to make sure we utilise the ever evolving digital world which we are all now compatible with,” said Balala.
“We have to ensure that conservation and wildlife which are a key component of the industry are enhanced, advocate for legislations and re-engineering of the industry, establish recovery funds for SME’s, and relook the aviation and travel sector. Without aviation there is no tourism, configuration of the sector is therefore paramount,” he added.
The conference brought together local and international tourism industry professionals to discuss the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Tourism industry locally.
The tourism sector is currently one of the hardest-hit by the outbreak of Covid-19, with the outbreak presenting the sector with a major and evolving challenge.
The impact of the pandemic been felt on both travel supply and demand, particularly in Kenya’s source markets.
Total spending on travel in Kenya in 2019 was $12 million on tickets, airline operating fees, and ancillary products and services. This has been projected to plunge by sixty percent by the end of 2020.
The estimated losses by the travel industry alone are severe enough to create job loss across the sectors.
The government has already set aside $5 million for its post Coronavirus (Covid-19) recovery plan. Tourism remains the second-largest foreign exchange earner in the country.
The tourism players agreed that more emphasis needed to be placed on local and regional tourism post Covid-19 since international travelers will be less willing to travel immediately due to the effects of the current lockdowns and the effects of Covid-19 globally.
They also agreed that the industry needs to leverage on the adversity to ensure that it resumes in a much better situation than it was pre-Covid-19. This will be by harnessing and responding to the crisis through ways that create a bright future for the industry post-crisis.