For a sector that makes up about 10% of GDP, the loss of virtually all tourist arrivals since March has spelt disaster for hotels and tour operators that once relied on a steady stream of long-haul visitors. Though the government set aside $5m to support the ailing sector, industry losses of $752m have forced several large hotels to close. While industry insiders believe the international market could take up to four years to fully recover, many businesses are entering uncharted waters as they attempt to refashion themselves for domestic consumers. Aside from marketing issues, the repositioning is expected to offer handsome returns for savvy businesses as Kenya’s extensive middle class provides for a thriving domestic tourism market relative to other African countries. While it may take some time for local purchasing power to make up for the millions of dollars spent annually by foreign tourists, the repositioning of the market will ultimately help Kenya ward off future shocks as Covid-19 continues to cast uncertainty over the future of international travel.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE