Nairobi — Kenya registered a 21.7 percent decline in the number of international arrivals between January and June 2021 compared to a similar period in 2020, according to a new report.
The International Tourism Performance Report January to June 2021, indicates that the UK was the fifth-highest source market of tourists in the country with 16,264 persons representing 5.3 percent of the 305,635 total arrivals.
This comes amidst fresh restrictions banning Kenyans from entering the United Kingdom, over concerns of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
The British government last week announced it was retaining Kenya in its ‘Red List’ of countries whose nationals are barred from entering the country over the disease.
Kenya remained on the travel ban list where it was first included in April this year, amidst fears that the highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant may spark a fourth wave of infections in Kenya over the next two months.
The highest number of visitor arrivals was from the United States of America and Uganda, which registered a total number of tourists at 49,178 and 31,418, respectively.
The report comes amid projections that the sector faces an uphill task of recovery post-COVID-19.
According to a study released this month by Deloitte, tourist arrivals are estimated to have declined by 78.4 percent in 2020 compared to the 2019 average, translating to a 99.7 percent decline in earnings from Sh163.6 billion in 2019 to Sh0.5 billion in 2020, leaving more than 1.1 million individuals employed in the sector in disarray.
In research conducted by the Ministry of Tourism in June 2020, 81.3 percent of firms in the sector reported a significant reduction in the number of employees, 85.5 percent of firms reported the implementation of pay cuts while 81.9 percent of the firms reported implementation of unpaid leaves in 2020.
According to the finding, the decline in international tourism arrivals led to an abrupt and unprecedented drop in hotel demand that led to the closure of most hotels, consequently sending staff home on unpaid leave or worse, permanent dismissal.
“The total loss in hotel room revenue for 2020 is estimated at USD 511 million,” the report reveals.
Due to the global vaccination drive and the revamp in global aviation, Deloitte forecasts international arrivals to increase by 183 percent to 806,000 in 2021 while tourism earnings rise by 40 percent from Sh0.5 billion to Sh0.7 billion.