The nation’s tourism industry has faced huge setbacks due to the ongoing opposition protests taking place in the country.
• The ongoing Maandamano protests in the country set back Kenya’s tourism industry from regaining it’s glory.
• Loosening of COVID-19 restrictions has eased the strain put on Kenya’s tourism industry.
Just when things were starting to pick up, and the Kenyan tourism industry had started to regain its momentum after a long COVID-19 recession, things seem to be derailing once more.
The ongoing protests, locally referred to as Maandamano, have disrupted the people’s daily lives and have generated an atmosphere of uncertainty, insecurity and instability.
Tourists, who seek peace, tranquility, and a worry-free vacation, are likely to be discouraged by the potential risks associated with these demonstrations.
Safety is paramount for any traveller, and the protests create an undesired atmosphere of unpredictability.
The significant attention from both international and local news outlets has created a negative impression on the image of Kenya. News of demonstrations, clashes, and civil unrest has created an overall bad perception among potential tourists.
Such media coverage can lead to misconceptions about the overall security situation in Kenya and dissuade potential visitors from choosing it as a travel destination. This further derails the recovery of Kenya’s tourism industry.
Tour operators, hotels, and other tourism-related businesses face the difficult task of convincing their potential visitors that their safety and well-being will not be compromised during their stay in Kenya.
Tourism in Kenya
Kenya’s tourism industry has long been a vital pillar of the nation’s economy, attracting visitors from around the world with our diverse wildlife, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural heritage.
Among other attractions, is the wildlife safaris which have been the top tourist attractions in Kenya for decades. Other things to do include hiking Mount Kenya, ballooning over the Masai Mara, and relaxing in Malindi on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
According to reports, the tourism sector in our country creates jobs for 11 per cent of Kenya’s workforce. Furthermore, it boosts the economy and other local industries such as the transport sector, food and beverages, entertainment and textiles.
Before COVID, back In 2019, Kenya reportedly generated around 1.76 billion US dollars in the tourism sector alone.
However, the ongoing opposition protests in Kenya have emerged as a significant challenge to the industry’s recovery following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
This decline in tourist directly affects the country’s economy, considering that the tourism industry is a significant contributor to Kenya’s GDP and a source of livelihood for many.
Tourism-related businesses, including hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and curio shops, suffer from reduced revenue and ultimately low tax returns for the government.
To mitigate the impact of ongoing protests on the tourism industry, it is crucial for the Kenyan government and the opposition parties to engage in dialogue and find peaceful resolutions to their differences. By fostering an environment of stability and safety, Kenya can rebuild its reputation as an ideal tourist destination.
Additionally, it might be a good idea for the government and tourism authorities to implement targeted marketing campaigns, both domestically and internationally.
This would counter the negative narrative caused by these demonstrations and highlight the beauty, diversity, and safety of Kenya.
As the fourth estate, we should also actively promote positive aspects of our home country to restore confidence and ensure the long-term sustainability of Kenya’s tourism industry.