Narok suffers Sh2bn tourism revenue loss

By Ben Leshau

Narok county government lost Sh2.25bn tourism revenue loss at the world-famous Maasai Mara Game reserve last year due to the ban on international flights into the country.

Governor Samuel Tunai who is also the Tourism  Committee Chair in the Council of Governors said the loss was occasioned by a travel advisory.

 Many countries in the world banned tourist flights to combat the spread of the virus at the height of the pandemic last year.

“The county usually gets annual revenue of Sh 2.5bn from the Maasai Mara and we lost about 90 percent of the collection as no visitors visited the game reserve,” said Tunai.

He said 80% of Easter holiday hotel bookings at the game reserve were canceled after the government again restricted movement in five counties to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“During the third wave, 80% of room bookings were canceled meaning most hotels will be forced to lay off a number of their employees,” he observed.

He lamented that the Easter season, was one of the peak seasons at the Mara Mara where many foreigners and locals prefer celebrating the long holiday but this year’s plans just went up in smoke.

“In normal circumstances, the hotels are fully booked during the
Easter holiday season, however, the case was very different this year with the emergence of Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the whole world,” he said.

The county boss reiterated that the sector was slowly recovering from the losses made last year but unfortunately, the third wave of Covid-19 has once again hit the tourist industry.

He however lauded the measures set by the government to curb the spread of the virus which has saved lives.

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