Friday, 03 April 2020 14:43

COVID-19 East Africa: Cutting back and planning ahead

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Kenya’s tourism strategy to beat COVID-19

Kenya’s government has created a National Tourism Crisis Steering Committee to not only plan the country’s tourism recovery post COVID-19 but include mitigating measures for emergencies during the pandemic.

This was announced by Kenyan Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, who said the COVID-19 pandemic had caused a major impact on tourism sectors across the globe, with countries implementing travel bans and nationwide lockdowns.

The committee will be chaired by Tourism Chief Administrative Secretary, Joseph Boinnet, and will be on a three-year renewable term, operating from the National Tourism Crisis Operational Centre at the Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

The Ministry of Tourism has set aside KES500 million (€4.3m) for its post-coronavirus recovery plan.

“Part of this money will be used to restore destination confidence to ensure that Kenya remains a preferred travel destination globally, while the rest will be used for the post-coronavirus recovery strategy in all our key source markets,” said Balala.

Uganda goes into lockdown

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has implemented a 14-day nationwide lockdown from March 30 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

 “The ban on private transport takes effect at 22h00 today (March 30). I would have given the public time to adjust but a longer time would give people time to go to the villages and, in so doing, they would transfer the very sickness we’re trying to prevent. This freezing of movement will last for 14 days,” said Museveni in a series of tweets.

The President has ordered a 14-day nationwide curfew from 19h00 to 05h00. Food markets will continue to operate but with a precautionary distance of four metres between buyers and sellers, and also between sellers.

“Gatherings of more than five persons are hereby prohibited. We expect all of you to stay indoors, except for cargo transporters,” said Museveni.

Serena Hotels

Serena Hotels is to scale down operations by sending home 89% of its staff due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a press statement, MD of Serena Hotels Africa, Mahmud Jan Mohamed, said never in the four-decade history of the hotel company had any event caused a global impact to the hospitality industry.

“It is with a heavy heart that we advise that ten Serena lodges and camps in Kenya and Tanzania will temporarily cease operations until June 15,” said Mohamed.

They are Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge, Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, Mara Serena Safari Lodge, Serena Mountain Lodge and Lake Elmenteita Serena Camp in Kenya.

In Tanzania the properties are Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, Kirawira Serena Camp and Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp.

“All other properties under the Serena Hotels portfolio remain in operation as they continue to observe the health and safety protocols in line with the World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control,” said Mohamed.

Hemingways Collection suspends ops in Kenya

Kenyan luxury boutique hotel, Hemingways Collection, has suspended all operations and temporarily closed Ol Seki Mara and Nairobi properties but will retain 400 of its employees.

The two luxury boutique hotels closed on March 30 and hope to reopen by June 1. “We wish to thank the staff and all those who have supported the Hemingways Collection and we look forward to seeing you all again soon,” said Chairman, Dicky Evans.

Hemingways Watmu on the Kenyan coast is still operational and abiding by government protocols in terms of servicing guests and complying with the curfew.

Source: TU

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