Coronavirus pandemic wiped out Kshs. 71.9 billion of tourism receipts last year as travel and tour remained disrupted due to coronavirus pandemic.
According to Economic Survey 2021 by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), tourism earnings declined 43.9%, from from KSh 163.6 billion in 2019 to KSh 91.7 billion in 2020.
The reduced earnings is attributed to a crash in international arrivals which plunged by a massive 71.5%, from 2,035,4000 in 2019 to 579,6000 last year after tour and travel remained affected since March when outbreak was announced in the country.
Overall, visitor arrivals through JKIA dropped by 72% to 399,900 in 2020 while visitor arrivals through MIA was down 70.1% to 34,100 during the same period.
“The contraction in visitor arrivals through JKIA and MIA was mainly attributed to travel restriction measures put in place in our tourist source markets and suspension of international passenger flights by the Kenyan government to mitigate the spread of the virus,” stated KNBS in the survey.
As a result of travel restrictions, hotels registered a contraction in bed-night occupancy which dipped 58% to 3.8 million last year.
23.3% of the international visitors came for holiday, 29.5% for business while 6.4% were on transit. 40.8% of the visitors visited Kenya due to other reasons.
The government suspended international passenger flights from 25th March to 31st July 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19 a decision attributed to fall in arrivals and earnings.
“Domestic tourism was equally constrained by restriction of movement of persons within Nairobi Metropolitan and Mombasa as well as suppression of most socio-economic activities during the second and third quarter of 2020,” said KNBS.
According to the Survey, Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product also contracted by 0.3% in 2020 from a 5% growth registered in 2019.
“The revised nominal GDP was estimated at Kshs. 10.753 trillion in 2020 from 10.256 in 2019. So you can see a growth of about Kshs. 500 billion,” saod Ukur Yatani, Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Planning.
“The contraction of economic performance was attributed to the disruption of labour supply, brought about by the restriction of movement, and social distancing measures meant to contain the spread of COVID-19. This also reduced demand for goods and services.”
The decline witnessed in accommodation and food serving activities, education, professional and administrative service was however offset by growth in construction sector which grew 11.8% last year from 5.6% in 2020 followed by human health and social workers activities at 6.7%, finance and insurance 5.6%, agriculture, forestry and fishing 4.8% same as ICT.
KNBS says in the report that total value of marketed production in the agriculture sector increased 9.3% to Kshs. 509.7 Billion in 2020.
This was mainly as a result of increased production tea and food crops such as beans, rice, sorghum and millet.
Going forwards, CS Yatani says focus will be on measures that will help steer the economic to the recovery path after a difficult 2020.
“The government is currently focusing on the implementation of the economic recovery strategy that will aim at restoring the economy to a strong growth path, creating jobs, and economic opportunities across all regions of the country with a view of tackling social and income inequalities,” added Yatani.