As a foreigner, you might be asking yourself, is it safe to travel to Kenya with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic? Learn about Corona-related travel bans on Kenya and their effects.
Kenya is one of the best travel destinations with unique sounds, sights and tastes that are magical. However, Corona-related travel bans had a huge impact on the country. Not only did this disrupt movement – in and outside the country – the flow of tourists, business men and investors was hugely dealt a blow.
The disruption that has been caused by Corona-related travel bans is enormous and will probably have a trickle-down effect that will be felt for years to come. Many small business, in the formal and the informal sectors are already feeling the pinch and reporting loses.
Much as the travel ban has negatively impacted operations, it also has its benefits. Since 97% of Kenya’s population is under 65 years, a decline of Covid-19 deaths has been reported. This can also be attributed to the containment measures that were put in the last 6 months or so.
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“I am sure I won’t be going back to my old job in the hotel industry. I have contacted most of my former colleagues to see if they have been recalled, but so far, there is no good news.”
Corona-related travel bans on Kenya and their effects
Kenya currently has an ongoing curfew that lasts from 10 pm to 4 am. This being so, the goal of becoming a 24-hour economy has been halted.
In Kenya, two counties have been hit hard by the virus and that is Mombasa and Nairobi and its environs. With the job cuts and reduced earnings, people are distressed because many of them cannot buy or provide food for their families.
Here are some of the Corona-related travel bans on Kenya and their effects.
- Job losses
On the heels of Corona-related travels bans on Kenya, the curfew that was imposed resulted into job losses in both formal and informal sectors. Sectors that were hugely affected includes education and the hotel industry sectors which recorded massive losses.
The revenue that Kenya earns was reduced, leading to closure of hotels and job losses. Take Maggie, for instance, who was working in the hotel industry before the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to lack of tourism activity and income, Maggie was let go by her employer.
“I am sure I won’t be going back to my old job in the hotel industry,” she said. “I have contacted most of my former colleagues to see if they have been recalled, but so far, there is no good news.”
Luckily, Maggie had saved some money and with a small funds drive led by her friends and family, she managed to open a stall in the local market. This is where she is currently earning income through selling groceries.
- Loss of income from tourism activities
Loice Abwao, who runs Orgur Travel shared how Corona-related travel bans on Kenya affected her tours and travel business. “The travel ban and lockdown made it difficult to process hotel bookings and traveling across Kenya,” she said.
“As a result, there was no income,” she added, “This not only affected international tourism but local as well. Many of my local clients did not make bookings to travel, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown.
According to Loice, many people lost their income and therefore were not able to plan for holidays. In the tours and travel this translates to no income, no traveling and no holiday.
But Loice has not given up hope.
“Now that things are loosening up a little and travel is gradually resuming,” she continued, “we hope that the situation will turn around so that business can fully resume.”
- Lack of empathy
Like many Kenyans, Maggie struggled with meeting her daily needs and paying rent. As a result, she suffered and went through stress when her landlord was not able to waive rent as per the government request.
Her family also experienced a lot of mistreatment after her water and electricity supply was disconnected due to arrears. Eventually, she moved to a cheaper house in the slum where the safety of her two children is not guaranteed.
- Transport sector took a hit
Due to the social-distancing requirement, the public transport sector reported loses. This was as a result of seating capacity being reduced in order to adhere to social distance government requirement.
Because of the strict measures of having to wear masks for drivers and using hand sanitizers at the point of boarding, an increase of the cost of transport was effected.
Maggie’s mentions that because of the high cost of transport, she resorted to walking to her business.
“At the end of the day, I am often exhausted, lack appetite and not able to give my children the quality time that they deserve,” she added.
Kenya has a large population living below the poverty line. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made it evident that neglecting the most vulnerable groups is detrimental to the whole country. This is what has made the Corona-related travel bans on Kenya and their effects more severe.
To rectify this, the government has to be considerate of the daily needs of those living below the poverty line because they are the most affected. It is a task that the government cannot do on its own. Each of us has to play a part in this and ensure that we emerge victorious.