Kenya has lost an estimated kes. 110 billion in direct earnings from international visitors in 10 months of the year in what tourism and wildlife ministry attributes to COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest data indicate that between January and October 2020, the country earned just kes. 37 billion against kes. 147.5 billion the sector was projected to rake in during the period under review before the coronavirus outbreak.
International visitors through all points of entry during the period dipped by a massive 72% as Kenya received 470,971 tourists compared to 1,718,550 registered last year.
International tourism suffered a sharp decline between April and July when the country and its key source markets deployed strict COVID-19 containment measures which halted international travel while airlines remained grounded.
Out of the total arrivals, visits to family and friends accounted for 35.32%, business 35.11%, in transit 6.32%, medical 1.53%, and education 1.18%.
The holiday segment, in particular, suffered a huge decline from a contribution of 63.15% of the total arrivals numbers registered last year to 19.92% in 2020.
“The decline in holiday travel numbers is an indication that only essential travel is happening and the holiday market will take longer to recover,” said the ministry in a statement.
During the 10 month period, Uganda was the leading source market with 60,399 arrivals, USA 53,444, Tanzania 43,649, the UK 42,341, and India 25,251.