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Corona costs EAC tourism sector Sh528b, jobs

By Wahinya Henry
Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 06:00 | < 1 min read
Tourism sector. Photo/File

PANDEMIC: East Africa’s tourism sector lost more than $4.8 billion (Sh527.5 billion) and 2 million jobs in 2020 amid Covid-19 curbs, a report by East African Business Council (EABC) says.

The sector contributes about 10 per cent to the East African Community (EAC) partner States’ gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for 17 per cent of export earnings and about 7 per cent  in terms of jobs, official data indicates.

A report by EABC, the regional apex body of private sector associations and corporates, shows that 4.2 million foreign tourists were not able to travel to their preferred East Africa Community destinations.

Ridded with uncertainty, the impact was felt across affiliated industries and other sectors of the economy.

“It is estimated that tourism jobs in the region dropped from about 4.1 million to 2.2 million,” said EABC chief executive officer John Bosco Kalisa.

“Visitors to national parks declined significantly by about 65 per cent  and, therefore, negatively affected wildlife conservation efforts in the region.” 

Bed occupancy

The majority of the tourists originate from Europe, US and parts of Asia. The study also reveals that bed occupancy at hotels significantly dropped during the pandemic, with hotels in the region registering average occupancy rates of below 30 per cent

EABC’s report, 26.5 per cent of businesses lost their entire projected revenues during the pandemic period and 44 per cent lost 75 per cent, while 17.6 per cent lost 50  per cent of their projected revenues.

The private sector has called on governments to create affordable loan schemes to support the tourism sector.     

Wahinya Henry