COVID- 19 has brought the travel and tourism industry to a complete standstill with the restrictions on movement to contain the spread of the virus. This virus has caused an unprecedented disruption in the aviation, travel and tourism industry.
The pandemic has led to stringent measures being taken by the Kenyan Government to contain the spread of the virus. On March 25, 2020, international flights were banned and before that, gatherings of any kind were prohibited therefore leading to cancellation of major conventions and events in cities.
The Kenya Association of Travel Agents Chief Executive Officer Ms. Agnes Mucuha noted that the aviation, travel and tourism industries are among the worst hit sectors.
“COVID-19 has hit the industry really hard with loss of jobs and revenue for travel agents. Many have had to close their businesses. The beginning of the year had so much promise. Kenya had recorded an increase in international arrivals after receiving 1,444,670 arrivals between July 2019 and February 2020 as compared to 1,423,548 over the same period last year,” she said.
Over 90 percent of forward bookings for the month of April 2020 have been cancelled since Europe, America and the Middle East issued lock down notices for non-citizens. Our industry forecast on bookings for the period May, June and July 2020 is also extremely depressed as travellers have opted to postpone their travel until quarter four
Other notable findings in the travel impact analysis include:
- Total spending on travel in Kenya in 2019 was Kes. 1.7billion on tickets, airline operating fees, and ancillary products and services. This has been projected to
plunge by 60% by the end of 2020.
- The estimated losses by the travel industry alone are severe enough to create job
loss across the sectors. The full impact of the crisis is expected to last at least three
quarters, with Q2 2020 being the low point.
These grim statistics mean that travel agents and other industries in the travel and tourism industry cannot support their employees or their businesses. This has seen many people take pay cuts, and others lose their jobs.
Ms. Mucuha pointed out that being a global pandemic, Africa will be greatly affected with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicting that the disruption to the aviation industry will cause a loss of about USD 113 billion globally and USD 55.8 billion in Africa. This industry supports millions of jobs which risk being lost. The figure could rise depending on how long the pandemic lasts.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) estimates an expected decline of between 20-30 percent in international visitors.
Visit the Coronavirus Updates page on the KATA website on https://katakenya.org/corona-virus-updates/ for more information