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Sigh of relief for Mombasa residents after partial lockdown

By Reuben Mwambingu
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohamed Hersi. Photo/PD/FILE

After enduring three months of partial lockdown following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration of cessation of movement in and out of Mombasa, the coastal city can now breathe a sigh of relief after the Head of State eased the restrictions extended 30 days ago to allow for re-opening of the economy.

While for some parts of the country, the re-opening could have sparked fears of further spread of Covid-19 infections upcountry, in Mombasa the news came as a major relief for residents who have endured three months of restricted movement that led to  massive job losses compounded by closure of businesses.

Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chair Mohamed Hersi says the lapse of cessation of movement in and out of Mombasa will bolster local economy and domestic tourism since it will pave way for upcountry folks to spend here in Mombasa.

“It was very difficult for us when cessation was declared. Selling tourism is impossible where there is restricted movement but now you see, the president has lapsed the restrictions.

It is understood that most people were tired of staying at home and couldn’t wait for this announcement to come to go out and stretch a bit.

This is why this news is good for Mombasa and Coast in general,” said Hersi.

The KTF boss also termed the announcement on resumption of local flights July 15 followed by international flights in August as “the best news” for local and international tourism saying figures projected by the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that Africa is much safer than the rest of the world in terms of Covid-19.

While referring to WHO statistics on the pandemic indicating Africa has only recorded six deaths per one million populations compared to other continents like America, Europe, Eastern Mediterranean and South East-Asia, which have spiking deaths, Hersi said the figures favour the Africa destination.

He however said even with the reopening it is difficult for the tourism sector to experience a turnaround considering the earliest the industry could pick is around October and November of 2021 which is the winter season in Europe.

But again, he said considering the approaching 2022 general election, the tourism industry in the country could slow down again.

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