Kenya’s hospitality staff will have to push during lockdowns


In early June, when international borders reopened and bookings increased, Kenya and many other countries in Africa saw the sharpest spike in coronavirus cases during the pandemic. With only 1 percent of the African continent fully vaccinated and the virus raging, several countries have been forced to lock down the virus or take tough measures. The drastic measures taken to stop the spread have dashed hopes of a revival of overseas tourism. Prior to the pandemic, Kenya was the third largest tourism destination in Africa, with tourism contributing $ 1.6 billion to the economy and creating 1.1 million jobs, or more than 8 percent of the country’s employment. The coronavirus was disastrous: during the high season between July and October last year, most bookings were canceled, causing layoffs and pay cuts, and many tour operators were closing. The loss of international tourism in Kenya and other East African countries, with little support from local governments or elsewhere, has decimated the livelihoods of thousands of travel and hospitality workers who had to take on odd jobs and borrow money to survive.



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