Local hoteliers led by Kenya Coast Hoteliers Working Group Chair, Mr. Hasnain Noorani have lauded the government’s intention to secure 24 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines worth sh.10 billion from Gavi Alliance which is expected early next year. Players in the industry hope they will be among the first beneficiaries of the vaccine.
“These promising developments on the vaccine front have sparked optimism to hoteliers that the pandemic’s end may be in sight. But if the market trends that immediately followed positive vaccine news are any indication, hospitality and travel industry sectors in Kenya and beyond will benefit a lot more than others,” said Mr. Noorani.
A statement to newsrooms on Monday indicates that the travel and hospitality sector has so far been one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic since the beginning the year.
“Countries will now feel comfortable opening their borders to vacationers once that vaccine is rolled out,” added Mr. Hasnain.
“The travel and hospitality sectors have been among the hardest hit amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but news on the Covid-19 vaccines showing high efficacy rates in their clinical trials has lifted hopes for the hospitality and travel industry recovery, “said Farzana Zahir, Sales and Marketing Director PrideInn Hotels.
When Covid-19 was declared a pandemic in March, the travel and hospitality industries were among the sectors most immediately and severely hit. Closed borders, curfew orders, companies cancelling business travel, and a general fear of catching the highly contagious virus brought travel to a halt. Several travel related companies went through layoffs in the weeks and months that followed.
“The government’s willingness to procure and administer 24 million doses of the vaccine which is expected in Kenya in January is good news for local hospitality industry which had been severely affected,” added Ms. Zahir
This festive season, bookings especially from domestic tourists have been positive contrary to what was expected, below 15 percent occupancy.
“Obviously it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen, but based on vaccines trends, we believe we’ll see at least a 70 percent recovery probably by end of Quarter 1 of 2021,” said Hasnain
“I think definitely things are going to get better for the hospitality industry than they are now. Currently, the vast majority of bookings we are receiving are domestic, tend to be leisure merrymakers now that holidays are here,” he added.
While travel hit the brakes in March till July when lockdown was lifted, PrideInn has seen an average of 10 percent to 15 percent growth in bookings. With the climb in bookings, the distribution of who is traveling is different, with industries like health care, manufacturing and retail making up a greater proportion of travel.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a