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Government keen to revive pandemic-hit tourism sector

The government is determined to overcome the impacts of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on the country’s tourism sector.

Government spokesperson Col (Rtd) Cyrus Oguna says the state is putting great efforts to reactivate the tourism industry which has been one of the economic sectors hardest-hit by the pandemic.

He said unprecedented measures to contain the virus such as restrictions on travel have brought the tourism economy to a standstill.

Speaking to the media on Saturday in Mombasa at the scenic Mama Ngina Waterfront Park, Oguna said lockdown measures that have kept away foreign travelers have dealt the sector a big blow.

He said as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic the tourism industry is going through difficult times.

He said the government will be supporting response and recovery measures to support the tourism industry which has severely been damaged by the pandemic.

Oguna said he spent days in the coastal city to engage stakeholders on ways of reviving the hospitality and tourism sector.

The spokesperson noted that the government is out to provide a range of support and relief assistance for the country’s ailing tourism businesses.

Oguna said the government has already set aside Sh.2 billion to support renovation of tourist hotels and the restructuring of business operations by actors in the industry.

This Sh.2 billion is in the form of soft loans to be administered by the Tourism Finance Corporation (TFC) to the hotel establishments.

He also said Sh1 billion is being dedicated to community conservancies under the Kenya Wildlife Service to support their activities.

Oguna said the government’s intervention is to help the tourism sector stay afloat as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged life and economics globally.

He noted that tourism is among the country’s leading foreign exchange earners with thousands of Kenyans depending largely on the sector for their livelihoods.

Oguna said the government has invested heavily in the construction and upgrading of mega roads and other key projects to transform coast region into an attractive destination for tourism and investment.

At the same time the government spokesperson has reminded the public of the imperative necessity to respect the health measures put in place to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease.

He said Covid-19 protocols such as social and physical distancing, washing hands often with soap and water, wearing facemasks and other preventative measures are absolutely necessary in order to safeguard the public health.

Oguna said even with the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign people should not let down their guard insisting that there should be no room for complacency in the fight against the disease.

“Even if you get the Covid-19 shot it is still important to continue observing the Covid-19 health protocols because you can still spread the virus to those who are not vaccinated,” he said.

Oguna also urged Kenyans to collect their Huduma Namba cards once they are notified through SMS.

He said the government has started the distribution exercise of the digital cards and urged Kenyans to collect their cards once they receive a text message.

by Mohamed Hassan

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