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Disruption is the new normal, tourism players urged to embrace it

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By Steve Umidha

Tourism stakeholders have been urged to adapt to the next normal in coping with Covid-19 crisis as businesses will no longer operate as before.

Speaking during an online tourism stakeholder conference christened ‘Post Covid-19 Leap Forward’ Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that the industry needs to ensure it adopts to the currently evolving scenarios to ensure that it recovers much faster.

“We have to restart and reset the industry from a new slate going forward, we also need to make sure we utilize the ever evolving digital world which we are all now compatible with, ensure that conservation and wildlife which are a key component of the industry are enhanced, advocate for legislations and re-engineering of the industry, establish recovery funds for SME’s, and relook the aviation and travel sector. Without aviation there is no tourism, configuration of the sector is therefore paramount,” said Balala.

The conference had brought together local and international tourism industry professionals to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Tourism industry locally.

The tourism sector is currently one of the hardest-hit by the outbreak of COVID-19, with the outbreak presenting the sector with a major and evolving challenge. The impact has been felt on both travel supply and demand, particularly in Kenya’s source markets.

He further said that going forward a key component will be to change the mindset for domestic and regional markets, “we also need to bear in mind that issues like age demographics will be important, younger people will be more likely to travel than the older generation. The key to transform the industry will be to make sure that we do what the new market will want, that is why we must relook at what our offering to the tourist will be” he said.

More emphasis are likely to be placed on local and regional tourism post Covid-19 since the international traveler will be less willing to travel immediately due to the effects of the current lockdowns and effects of Covid-19 globally.

Travel restrictions and flight cancellations and frequency reduction have significantly diminished the supply of both domestic and international services while demand continues to retract.

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