Kenya: Tourism Sector Plans on Best Use of Sh5.6 Billion

The tourism sector is developing an action plan to ensure that the Sh5.6 billion stimulus package injected into it by the government to jump-start the industry has impact.

Sectors targeted by the fund include hotels, tour guide companies, airlines, and the standard gauge railway.

The action plan is expected to be ready by early next month.

Stakeholders are upbeat on rebooting the sector after President Kenyatta hinted at relaxing restrictions meant to contain the spread of Covid-19 and open up economic activities.

Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chairman Mohammed Hersi said that hotels had already developed an action plan stating how visitors will be checked in, seating arrangements, interaction with tourists, and how fumigation will be conducted, among other activities.


Mr Hersi said action plans for the other three sectors would be completed in the next few days.

The plan will provide direction on how operations such as picking visitors at airport and railway stations as well as interacting wit them will be done.

"We are asking everyone to abide by the protocols. We don't expect things to be normal in the industry since we want to receive healthy visitors, to remain disease-free, and leave the country safe.

"Some of the measures will negatively affect implementers and reduce the number of visitors handled at a time.

"For instance, in the tour guide protocol, the number of passengers boarding vehicles will be reduced and no passenger will be allowed in the front seat," Mr Hersi said.

Airports and railway stations, he said, were planning on how to comply with the new protocols.

Last week, the President unveiled a $500 million (Sh53 billion) economic stimulus programme to cushion citizens against the financial stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. "The injection of the money into the economy will stimulate growth and cushion families and companies.

"In the past few months, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost and businesses closed. We hope to design programmes to recover our economy since we have to live with this disease for some time," Mr Kenyatta said.


Of the Sh5.6 billion allocated to the tourism sector, Sh2 billion will go towards supporting the renovation of facilities and restructuring business operations.

The money will be in the form of soft loans and will be administered by the Tourism Finance Corporation.

In the package, Sh1 billion will be dedicated to 5,500 community scouts under the Kenya Wildlife Service, while 160 community conservancies will get the same amount.

Funds will also be set aside to support operations at Utalii College.

Tourism is Kenya's second largest source of foreign exchange revenue after agriculture.

The country is the third largest travel and tourism economy in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria. Last year, 2.04 million international visitors arrived in Kenya, with 1.4 million landing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and 128,222 at Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

In addition, 29,462 visitors arrived at other airports in the country, while 467,179 arrived by land. In 2018 total arrivals were 2.02 million.

Air transport connectivity is a major driver of international arrivals in Kenya, hence the advent of coronavirus hit the sector hard.

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