A few months after suspending the increase of park entry fees for Kenyans, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Wednesday reduced the fees by 50% for both locals and foreigners to rescue the tourism sector.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala further said charges for filmmakers has also been cut by half.
“This is to encourage all filmmakers to profile Kenya as a magical destination, ” said Balala.
In addition, KWS has given a one-year moratorium to lodge owners in its parks and reserves for rent payment commencing July to June 30, 2021.
According to Balala, the moratorium should be used by the lodge owners to “improve on visitor’s experience and grow their businesses as well as promote KWS parks as preferred destinations for safari tourism.”
“This is to inform the public that KWS in consultation with Ministry of Tourism has suspended the implementation of the new rates until further notice due to the prevailing circumstances occasioned by the coronavirus,” said KWS in a statement.
Due to the adverse effects of #covid19 to the tourism and wildlife sector. We have reduced entry fees to all @kwskenya game parks & reserves to 50%. This will apply for all categories of tourists (local, residents & international), effective July 1, 2020 for one year. #wildlifeke pic.twitter.com/NJ6tvAmQkR
— Najib Balala (@tunajibu) July 2, 2020
Kenya has a total of 27 National Parks, 34 Reserves, and 161 Community Conservancies, in total covering an area of about 16 percent of the country’s landmass.
According to KWS, COVID-19 caused a significant drop in internally generated revenue and visitor numbers by 98 percent.
Safe Travel Stamp
Tuesday, Kenya was awarded the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travel Stamp in recognition of the destination’s adoption of the global health and hygiene standardized protocols dubbed ‘Safe Travels’.
Najib Balala said the recognition was timely as Kenya prepares to reopen the tourism and hospitality industry after months of closure.
To meet this recognition, Kenya sent the protocols drafted by National Tourism and Hospitality Protocols Taskforce to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) for validation.
This is in line with the Global reopening of Tourism and Travel Protocols.
“I am delighted to announce that Kenya has been listed among the 80 global destinations certified and authorized to use the “World Travel and Tourism Council Safe Travel Stamp” together with our Magical Kenya Logo. This stamp will allow travelers to recognize Kenya as a safe destination once we reopen and implement the health and safety protocols,” said CS Balala.
— Najib Balala (@tunajibu) July 1, 2020
According to the Tourism Research Report 2020 released June, on the Impact Of Covid-19 On Tourism In Kenya, The Measures Taken and The Recovery Pathways,’ the sector lost up to KSh80 billion since the outbreak of Covid-19.
The report found out that the country gains an annual average income of around KSh170 billion from the industry and should the situation persist, it was projected it will generate only 30 percent of what was earned in 2019.
It recommended that “For the country to achieve the pre-COVID-19 levels, optimal price between the visitors’ willingness to pay and the service providers’ willingness to accept compensation should be considered.”
“Willingness to accept compensation (WTA) is the minimum monetary amount required for an individual to forgo some good, or to bear some harm. This implies that concessions will have to be made by Government and service providers on the best price to offer visitors for tourism products and services.”
Tourism is the third-largest contributor to GDP after agriculture and manufacturing.
The number of international visitor arrivals increased by 0.4% to 2,035.4 thousand in 2019 whereas tourism earnings grew by 3.9% from Kshs 157.4 billion in 2018 to Kshs 163.6 billion in 2019 according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey Report of 2020.
In addition, the year 2019 saw significant growth in bed night numbers from 4.48 million in 2018 to 4.95 million in 2019 representing a 10.4% growth rate according to the tourism sector performance report released early in the year by the Tourism Research Institute.