Coronavirus casts shadow over Kenya tourism, hospitality industry


Coronavirus casts shadow over Kenya tourism, hospitality industry
FILE PHOTO | Italian tourists arrive at the Mombasa International Airport.

Tourism and hospitality industry players in Kenya have expressed fear of losses running into millions following the coronavirus outbreak in several parts of the world.

The epidemic has seen a ban of flights to and from the biggest tourists source market of Asia and Europe.

Italy, one of the biggest source market for tourists, with chartered planes landing twice in Mombasa, has been the hardest hit European country.

Mr. Hasnain Noorani, the Kenya Coast Working Group Chairman and CEO for PrideInn Hotels has urged the government to secure the country’s entry points.

“The hospitality Industry will definitely suffer, but we want the government through the relevant bodies to ensure that we remain safe and secure,” he said.

Early this week, the government said it would be suspending flights to the Coast from the north of Italy, Verona and Milan in particular where corona virus incidences have been experienced.

“Surge in cases in other parts of the world and Africa is causing deep unease in Kenyan hospitality industry which has strong tourism ties to China, Italy and other affected countries,” added Mr. Noorani.

On the heels of ITB Berlin 2020 cancellation, ITB India has been pushed to 2021 due to the ongoing health crisis prompted by the new coronavirus.

“With the cancellation of the International Tourism Fair in Germany (ITB Berlin) we are even more concerned over the impact since this is one of the platforms, we use to market our facilities and country to the world especially for MICE,” said Mr. Noorani.

CEO for Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers Mr. Mike Macharia, said that they are seeking to establish how they can respond to the crisis should a case be reported in any of the establishments and how to disseminate information that is factual without necessarily creating panic.

Mr. Macharia urged hoteliers to evaluate the overall impact of the coronavirus on to the businesses to help craft post crisis strategies.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency.

There are fears that less developed countries may not be able to cope with an outbreak because of weak health systems.

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Story By Rene Oswere
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