Joseph Boinnet, chief administrative secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, said the government has prioritized enhanced virus mitigation measures and diversification to boost tourist arrivals into the country.
"The resilience of the travel and tourism industry has been strengthened by robust measures that have been put in place to curb further spread of coronavirus," Boinnet said during the virtual launch of a report on outlook on recovery for the travel industry in Kenya.
He said proactive measures undertaken by the government including reopening public and privately managed wildlife sanctuaries have facilitated recovery of the hospitality sector.
According to Boinnet, raising the visibility of unexplored destinations and strengthening the safety of local and international travelers have minimized losses to the hospitality sector during the pandemic.
Data from Tourism Research Institute indicate the industry lost about 1.2 million full-time jobs due to the pandemic's shocks, translating into financial losses of 192 billion shillings (about 1.75 billion U.S. dollars) in direct labor earnings, and 4.48 billion dollars to the entire tourism sector value chain.
Mohamed Wanyoike, chairman of Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), said the industry was on a recovery path as easing of COVID restrictions coupled with ramped up inoculation injects confidence among travelers.
"The industry is currently performing at about 40 percent of the 2019 numbers and this is an indication that the worst is behind us," said Wanyoike, adding that the pandemic has prompted industry players to innovate in order to stay afloat.