Kenya’s Hospitality Sector Remains Dependent on Local Guests

Kenya’s hospitality sector has been one of the worst-affected sectors amid the Covid-19 pandemic due to reduced demand for hospitality facilities and services.

Tourists from Romania being received at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa. PHOTO: Kenya Airports

Kenya’s hospitality sector has been one of the worst-affected sectors amid the Covid-19 pandemic due to reduced demand for hospitality facilities and services.

The latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows that local guests continue to help the tourism sector rebound from the blow by the pandemic.

The Monetary Policy Committee Hotel Survey-May 2021, a survey that was intended to assess the extent of the recovery of the hospitality industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic found out that local guests accounted for 84.0 per cent and 85.0 per cent of accommodation and restaurant services, respectively in May 2021 compared to 62.0 per cent and 69.0 per cent respectively during the Pre-COVID period.

“Local guests continued to support the accommodation and restaurant services in the sector during COVID-19 period as international travels remain subdued,” part of the report reads.

Subsequently, the average bed occupancy in May was at 18.0 per cent, an increase by 1.0 per cent points from 17.0 per cent in April attributed to the lifting up of travel restrictions after the March 26th partial lockdown.

“The Survey shows a recovery of the sector in May 2021 after the decline in operations in April 2021. In particular, 94 per cent of hotels sampled across the country were operating in May 2021 compared with 81 per cent in April, after easing of the restrictions and increased compliance with the health protocols.”

Employment in the sector recovered in May to 57 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels, up from 49 per cent in April but lower than the 59 per cent in March 2021.

The sector however is expected to record subdued performance with the reduced budgetary allocation for the next fiscal year.

Treasury allocated KSh11.3 billion this is expected to hamper recovery efforts while the lockdown restrictions will affect accommodation and food services hence reduced occupancy rates in hotels.

Covid-19: East Africa Lost $4.8 bn in Tourism and Hospitality in 2020

Travel Advisories

The U.S. Center for Disease Control  and Prevention(CDC) downgraded Kenya’s travel advisory to Level Two, down from Level Four, indicating a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country.

“Our hard work is certainly paying off. Happy to note that the USA has removed Kenya from Level 4 to Level 2 which is a good move for the travel and tourism trade. This is positive for tourism business,” Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chairperson Mohammed Hersi said in a tweet.

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