Kenya has lost 800 million US dollars in tourism revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis, the country’s tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said on Monday.

Balala said this is almost half of last year’s total revenue and warned that it would take months before the industry can recover.

In 2019, the tourism sector earned the East African nation $1.54-billion.

Tourism is among Kenya’s top foreign exchange earners, contributing at least 10% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Sector hardest hit since 2015

This is the worst performance following a rebound in 2015, which followed a drop in Al Qaeda linked terror attacks in the country.

Balala says while domestic tourism may bounce back, it will be months before international tourism arrivals resume normalcy.

“From the 6th of July, the country will open up. Definitely we know there will be some international tourism coming in December because of the holidays. But proper international recovery will be in the summer 2021. That is our projection so far.”

Kenya currently has over 6 000 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, the highest in the East Africa.

Over 2 000 people have recovered while over 100 have died.

The video below outlines Kenya’s tourism sector woes: