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Balala hints at tourism reopening, says sector lost Sh80b due to Covid-19

By Jeckonia Otieno | June 29th 2020
CS Najib Balala

Kenya’s tourism sector has lost about Sh80billion since the breakout of Covid-19 in December last year.

This is according to Wildlife and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala who was speaking during the launch of a report on impact of the virus in Kenya.

“We lost 50 per cent of our revenue of Sh160 billion with the second half of the year being as good as zero,” said Balala during the function held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

The CS also projected that for the first of the current financial year, Kenya will get just 30 per cent of expected revenue. He attributes the massive drop to the fact that the aviation sector has been grounded yet it is the largest contributor to the tourism sector.

Balala said, “The aviation sector has not taken off yet and it will take some time; so we are cognizant that in the first six months of this year we are going to focus on domestic tourism but of course we know that the first thing we have to do is to contain the virus.”

On July 1, the CS will be launching the tourism sector protocol which is expected to guide the operations in the sector. He also hinted that domestic tourism will start at the beginning of July.

“Of course we know there is some international tourism coming in December for the holidays but proper recovery will be in summer of 2021,” explained Balala.

There are about two million people employed in the sector but being out of business, job losses have occurred. Balala, however, expresses optimism that when tourism begins again, those in the sector will get back their jobs.

He noted, “The people sent home on redundancy, the moment the economy picks up, they will the first ones to be considered because of the experience that they have.”

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