Coronavirus hits tourism industry on Kenya's coast

Tourists bathe in the sun on a beach near Mombasa, Kenya. Kenya banned entry to people travelling from any country with reported coronavirus cases for 30 days.

Tourists bathe in the sun on a beach near Mombasa, Kenya. Kenya banned entry to people travelling from any country with reported coronavirus cases for 30 days.

AFP/Tobin Jones

MOMBASA - Restrictions on foreigners coming into Kenya, imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, have delivered a big hit to the country's tourism industry, with some hotels on the coast reporting occupancy rates of well below 10 percent.

A spot check in various hotels around the city of Mombasa showed most of the hotels now had an average of 7 percent occupancy rate or less.

READ: Tourism giant TUI suspends most operations on virus fears

Tourism is among Kenya's leading foreign exchange earners, bringing in 163.56 billion shillings last year. Mombasa depends largely on tourism for its livelihood.

"We were at 88 percent, right now we are at 7 percent. It does not look as if it is growing, and 7 percent (is) because of the cancellations we had this week," Victor Shitaka, general manager of Flamingo Beach Hotel, told Reuters.

READ: SA tourism takes knock amid coronavirus

Kenya banned entry on Sunday to people travelling from any country with reported coronavirus cases for 30 days, with the exception of Kenyan citizens and foreigners with residence permits, who will have to undergo a period of self-quarantine.

Kenya reported its first case of coronavirus a week ago and now has seven confirmed cases.

Source
Reuters