The Narok county government lost Sh2.25 billion revenue at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve when the country was closed to contain the Covid-19 spread last year.
Speaking in Narok town on Tuesday, the county Governor Samuel Tunai said the loss was occasioned by international travel advisory issued by many countries in the world that banned foreign travel.
“The county gets a revenue of Sh2.5 billion every year from the Maasai Mara and we lost about 90 per cent of the collecting as no visitors visited the game reserve,” he said.
At the same time, Tunai said 80 per cent of hotel bookings at the World Famous game reserve have been cancelled after the government restricted movement in five counties to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“During this season of the third wave, already 80 per cent of room bookings have been cancelled meaning most hotels will be forced to lay off a number of their employees,” he observed.
He lamented that the Easter season, which we are approaching, is one of the peak seasons at the Maasai Mara as many foreigners and locals prefer celebrating the long holiday at the Mara.
“In normal circumstances, the hotels are fully booked during the Easter holiday season. However, the case is very different this year with the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world,” he said.
The county boss reiterated that the sector was slowly recovering from the losses made last year but unfortunately, the third wave of Covid-19 has once again hit the tourist industry.
He however lauded the measures being set by the government to curb the spread of the virus saying the government has concentrated in saving lives to minimize deaths caused by Coronavirus.
“I am holding discussions with the relevant department to see if we can allow private vehicles from the five counties locked, Nairobi, Machakos, Kajiado, Nakuru and Kiambu that will be driving straight to the Mara to be allowed during the Easter holiday,” said Tunai.
By Ann Salaton