Kenya’s travel industry loses $47m due to COVID-19

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) on Thursday disclosed that the country's travel industry has so far lost 5.5…

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) on Thursday disclosed that the country’s travel industry has so far lost 5.5 billion shillings ($47 million), representing 42 percent loss of sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic.KATA Chief Executive Officer Ms. Agnes Mucuha noted that the aviation and travel industry has a bleak future as no revenue is streaming in.

“Travel is hedged on aviation, and for it to perform, international borders need to open up, a Covid health certificate must be in place, and a vaccination against the Covid virus strain will be crucial to the resumption of international travel,” she said in Nairobi.

Since the first case was reported in March, several measures have been put in place by the government to contain the spread of the highly contagious disease.

Among them is social distancing, restricted movements amongst counties, a dusk to dawn curfew and no flights in and out of the country, measures that have been extended for another 21 days.

These measures though very necessary in preventing the rapid spread of the virus have affected businesses through loss of sales and revenue.

This has led to some companies having to reduce the number of staff and even closing down.

“Some airlines like South African Airways and Virgin Australia are going through insolvency. If airlines do not receive support from their national governments, they will go bankrupt,” Ms. Mucuha said.

She called upon government and corporates to pay up pending bills owed to travel agents to allow their businesses to survive the crisis.

The government already owes the travel industry over 400 million Kenya shillings ($3.7 million) for ticket sales over the past two fiscal years.

“There are some companies that will not survive the Coronavirus pandemic. The government needs to support these businesses. Instead of closing shop, these businesses can partner or form mergers for survival and later make a comeback post COVID-19, “she advised.