Tourists from Ukraine wait for public health officials to approve their Covid-19 certificates at Moi International Airport in Mombasa. In Kenya, the number of tourists fell by 72 percent. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]
China and South Africa were the largest tourism markets that Kenya lost last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arrivals from these two countries were down 80.6 percent and 75.9 percent, respectively. As a result, Kenya saw an overall 72 percent drop in tourist numbers.
This comes from the latest report from the East African Business Council (EABC), which found that only 567,948 tourists visited the country last year, compared to 2.02 million in 2019 and 2.03 million in 2018.
However, according to the report released on April 26, 2021, the two countries were not leaders in the number of tourists in 2019.
The report found that China was Kenya’s fourth largest international tourism market as of 2019. The United States leads the pack. In Africa Uganda in the leading tourism market.
In 2019, Kenya recorded 245,437 visitors from the US, a number that has fallen to 65,377 in 2020. In the same year, Kenya received 223,010 visitors from Uganda, a decrease of 69.7 percent to 67,572 in 2020.
“However, the source market for Kenya that recorded the largest decline is South Africa with 75.9 percent from 46,926 in 2019 to 11,313 in 2020,” reads the report, titled “Impact Assessment of the Covid-19 Pandemic for the.” Tourism and Hospitality Industries in the EAC “and Post Recovery Sectors.
South Africa is Kenya’s third largest market in the region after Uganda and Tanzania. Rwanda ranks fourth, followed by Ethiopia according to the 2019 figures. Tourists from Tanzania to Kenya fell 72.1 percent from 193,740 to 54,053 last year.
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Visitors from Rwanda fell by 67.2 percent.
“Kenya is one of the largest regional source markets for Rwanda, falling 56.7 percent from 62,300 in 2019 to 27,134 in 2020,” the report said.
The arrival of tourists from the UK – Kenya’s second largest market – fell 72.5 percent in 2020 from 2019, as numbers from India fell 75.7 percent.
Due to the decline, around 394,875 jobs were lost in the industry. Sales fell 72 percent from Sh 189.7 billion in 2019 to Sh 53.1 billion and from Sh 152.8 billion in 2018.
International arrivals, visits to the parks and hotel occupancy rates were the three main influencing indicators used to determine the decline. The report shows an average decrease of 64.6 percent in 2020 in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
“Uganda and Rwanda recorded the largest decreases in visitors to parks with 68.7 percent and 67.5 percent, respectively. Tanzania and Kenya saw a decline of 61.8 percent and 60.3 percent, respectively, ”he adds.
The report found that hotel occupancy in the EAC partner countries remained subdued in the period from April to December 2020 as fewer international trips took place.
A survey by the Kenyan Central Bank in March 2021 found that hotels had an annual average of 27.6 percent bed occupancy in 2020.