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Hotels in Tsavo, Amboseli reopen as some struggle with new health rules

By Renson Mnyamwezi | July 27th 2020

TAITA, KENYA: Several tourist hotels in the vast Tsavo and Amboseli National Parks have reopened while others are still grappling with the set-out health protocols, according to tourism players.

The hotels were closed three months after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that has impacted negatively on the tourism industry.

The closure of the hotels which form the bulk of employment opportunities in Taita-Taveta County led to job losses in the sector that is one of the worst-hit by Coronavirus.

The chairman of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers in Tsavo and Amboseli Willy Mwadilo confirmed that Voi Wildlife Lodge, Satao Camp, Amboseli, and Ulutakai among others have resumed business while others like Ngulia and Kilaguni are still putting in place the health protocols.

“The ones that have not reopened are about to complete the necessary health protocols and will resume business soon,” stated the official.

Briefing The Standard on the status of the hotel business in the region, Mwadilo who is also the Sarova Taita Hills and Salt Lick Lodges General Manager said they are currently screening the workers and fumigating the premises in readiness of the reopening.

“We have done the screening and fumigation of the hotel premises and we are on the last lap of reopening. We are waiting for the Trade department and the County Liquor Silencing Board to inspect the hotels and give us the green light to reopen,” said the official.

He disclosed that they will reopen the two hotels on August 15 this year.

“We have done with the protocols and we are still waiting for the inspection to be done. Our workers are ready to start work,” revealed Mwadilo.

Hotels in the Tsavo ecosystem have been operating below 12 per cent in bed occupancy as foreign visitors kept off following the outbreak of the viral disease.

Mwadilo said the management of the hotels had sent their workers on leave while some had taken off duties as the employers monitored the situation.

He disclosed that a total of more than 130 Sarova hotels workers had earlier been sent on leave and were left with an only skeleton staff,” he revealed.

The general manager noted tourists feared traveling in the wake of Covid-19 and they were depending on domestic tourists.

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