Tourism Sector: Lives Being Devastated and Millions of Jobs on the Line
COVID- 19 has brought the travel and tourism industry to a complete standstill due to restrictions on movement to contain the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus has caused unprecedented disruption in various sectors among them in the aviation and the tourism industry, as movement is limited as a measure set to reduce the spread of the virus.
According to the Kenya Association of Travel Agents Chief Executive Officer Ms. Agnes Mucuha, COVID-19 has hit the industry hard, resulting in loss of jobs and revenue for travel agents.
“Many have had to close their businesses. The beginning of the year had so much promise. Kenya had recorded an increase in international arrivals after receiving 1,444,670 arrivals between July 2019 and February 2020 as compared to 1,423,548 over the same period last year.” Said Mucuha
Europe, America, and the Middle East issued a non-citizens lockdown leading to over 90 percent of the bookings for April 202o being canceled. Travelers now opt to postpone their travel until quarter four.
Total expenditure on tickets, airline operating fees, and ancillary products amounted to Ksh 1.7billion in 2019. However, the amounts are projected to hit a 60% decrease by the end of 2020.
“The estimated losses by the travel industry alone are severe enough to create job loss across the sectors with the full impact of the crisis is expected to last at least three quarters.” She said.
With the current hardships, the travel agents and other industries in the sector might find it a challenge to support their employees or their businesses.
Across the borders, the South African Airways plans to lay off its entire 4,700-strong workforce after failing to persuade the government to provide more financial help, a move that threatens to ground the 86-year-old national carrier good.