The Narok County Governor, Samuel Tunai has reiterated that the county will suffer huge losses amounting to over Sh.3 billion as many hotels at the World Famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve have closed down due to lack of tourists.
Tunai who addressed journalists in one of the lodges on Sunday said the game reserves highly depends on foreign visitors who flock the area to enjoy seeing wild animals.
“Several tented camps and leisure hotels have closed down after the government banned international flights, right now there are zero tourists and several hotels have shut down,” he said.
Tunai expressed fear that the county could be forced to adjust its budget as a big percentage of its revenue comes from the Maasai Mara Game reserve.
“We have already lost Sh.2.4 billion in terms of revenue and we ought to make adjustments on our budget,” said the governor.
Tunai who is also the Tourism Committee Chair at the Council of Governors has also appealed to the hospitality industry players to consider giving their staff at least six-month paid leave to cushion them from the harsh economy.
“As many hotels close in many parts of the country, I urge the tourism industries to give their staff paid leave. The workers have been serving these facilities diligently before the Coronavirus outbreak and it is fair that they get paid leave until normalcy returns,” Tunai said.
He said the most affected counties, include Nairobi, Mombasa, Turkana, Kajiado and Nakuru who earn most of their revenue from the tourism sector.
Nevertheless, Tunai warned that despite the closure of the Mara, the game rangers will be vigilant in guarding the wildlife there and the investors’ property.
“Poachers or thieves who think they can take advantage to harm wildlife or to steal at the deserted facilities should be warned that we have deployed officers to man the park, and they will meet their match,” he warned.
At the same time, the governor said all the 11 persons who had been put on isolation as they had travelled abroad and others having closely interacted with people who had turned positive of Covid-19 have all tested negative.
“We are very grateful to God that our county has not received any positive case of Covid-19. I urge the residents to continue observing guidelines put by the government in a bid to avert the virus from our county,” said Tunai.
By Ann Salaton