Christmas is an exciting time for many. It is the period most people go on holidays; have fun and all the leisure they need. Traveling during periods like this is very common amongst young people and adults. Moreover, tourism is always at its peak during times like this.
However, due to the current global pandemic, most tourists are trapped at home and the consequences on the tourism industry has been dire.
Hotels below capacity, jobs at risk
This has also affected the businesses of most hotel, beach and resort owners. Low patronage has led to investors considering selling off their hotels and other tourism-related assets.
Coastal Kenya – a region dependent on tourism as its economic lifeline – has been the worst hit by the pandemic. Over half of the workforce that were employed lost their jobs. Currently, only half of the workforce have been rehired. They have been forced to work on a 50 percent salary due to the economic downturn.
The decline in tourism earnings has been drastic. Currently, most beach hotels at the Coast are operating between 40 to 55 percent on local tourism, and two percent on international counterparts. Compared to two years ago, hotels operated above 80 percent local tourism and 25 percent international tourism.
International tourism has declined by 72 percent. Only 972 tourists visited Kenya in 2020. This is a stark contrast to the 1.7 million visitors the East African nation received in the preceding year.The latest statistics from the Tourism Research Institute show a massive drop in tourist arrivals due to the pandemic.
Low confidence, forced hope
The December holidays, which are usually the boom period for hotels, offered little cheer. The Coast facilities recorded low bookings ahead of the festivities, a situation attributed to fear over the possibility of restriction of movements during the period.
However, those that manage to pass through the stringent coronavirus travel restrictions tend to face a two-week quarantine. Despite these challenges and the fears of the second wave of covid-19, hotels have embarked on renovating their premises with the hope of reopening in January 2021.
Christmas itself came, but it was not a merry affair for many. Travel and general restrictions on movement made it difficult to enjoy the holidays. And as the people suffered, so did business. Businesses are now faced with a tough decision; to sell or remain hopeful.