The Government has allocated an additional Sh6 billion to the tourism and wildlife sectors aimed at boosting recovery efforts. The two sectors have been worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reading the budget in Parliament yesterday, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the State Department of Tourism has received Sh12.8 billion for sector development and promotion and another Sh10.8 billion for wildlife conservation and management, up from Sh8.9 billion and Sh8.8 billion allocated previously.
The 30 per cent increase in allocation is part of the Government’s effort to cushion the sector that is virtually on its knees, following the cancellation of International flights and enactment of movement restrictions in parts of the country.
“The tourism sector has been adversely hit by the coronavirus following cancellation of international flights, travel bans and lockdown measures taken by countries,” said Yatani.
“To jumpstart the sector, we are allocating funds for soft loans to hotels and related establishments and another Sh2 billion through the Tourism Finance Corporation.”
Additionally, Sh2 billion has been set aside to support renovation of facilities and restructuring of business operations.
Another Sh1 billion will fund 160 community conservancies.
Earlier this week, a high-end hotel, Kempinsky became the latest facility to announce plans to lay off staff due to the adverse business conditions that have seen the firm lose 80 per cent of its business. Industry players state that more than 100,000 jobs are on the line as earnings from the sector fall below the 2007/2008 post-election figures.
Data from the State statistician indicates that tourism earnings rose to Sh163 billion last year from Sh157.4 billion in 2018.