By Ruth MBIJIGOH
The Tourism industry relies on the free movement of people and the autonomy of customers who wish to travel for various purposes. As it stands, statistically, the tourism industry has suffered the worst effects of the pandemic due to the respect of preventive measures put in place by competent Organizations.
We can only help but think of revenues lost from no visa fees, payments done by tourists upon arrival in to some countries, huge number of Bed and Breakfasts, small hotels, tour gushutterstockides and amazing entrepreneurs who have, or are being put out of business.
RWANDA ‘S CASE:
Rwanda has earned the nickname Land of a Thousand Hills for its stunning scenery. Its mountainous landscape is breathtaking, and it is home to six active volcanoes, a call for tourist’s attention.
In an exclusive interview with Epafred Minuifuong, Rwandan based Cameroonian Tech entrepreneur. Founder of BONGALO App known for tourists’ accommodation pooling in East Africa he revealed to EVOLVE MEDIA HOLDING that COVID-19 has brought a tremendous shock to the growth of their young business. Borders have been closed since March when they registered their last three guests. This has played on the company’s cost structure as they tend to spend money making no money. They are now back to zero revenue which is not healthy for any business.
However, as an online booking platform the pandemic has affected their strategy positively. As he turns to focus on staff concerned with building new technology and communication. Booking will be done online and check-in upon arrival, no reception/human interaction to reduce the spread of the virus, all is done online and reference numbers given. Most services that can be substituted with online presence have been shifted accordingly thus a blessing for now and the future.
From Rwanda’s genocide story to its recovery and present date, the country has made an extraordinary transformation and tourism has been at the heart of it.
The Travel & Tourism economy of Rwanda grew by 13.8% in 2018 – one of the fastest rates in the world, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) reports released March 2019. Meaning the industry contributed RWF1.3 trillion (US$1.4 billion) to the country’s economy, an increase of 13.8% on 2017. This means that Travel & Tourism now accounts for 14.9% of the total Rwandan economy. Recently according to reports published on CNBC Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic saw Rwanda lose about $10 million in tourism receipts between March and April 2020. Now, the country is looking for tech and innovative business solutions that could help tourism and hospitality sectors recover from the crisis. As Rwanda looks forward to removing existing COVID-19 restrictions which have completely grounded the tourism sector, the country has set new conditions for its tourists including:
The testing of flight crew members and tourists to be done 72 hours prior to the visit date. Tourists are required to visit the attraction within 72 hours of the negative results date. The results should be presented at the Parks’ reception. Amongst others.
The island-nation consists of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean. Its outer islands offer beautiful beaches and an array of wildlife which are a call for tourist attraction. Seychelles is at the forefront of the “blue economy” movement focused on using oceans for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while maintaining the ocean’s ecosystem.
Tourism and fishing are the main drivers of the economy of Seychelles. They account for well over 50 percent of Seychelles’ gross domestic product (GDP) and contribute significantly to earnings and employment. In 2019, the country’s real GDP was estimated at 3.5 percent, with visitor arrivals recorded at 384,204. The coronavirus has effectively crippled these sectors because of the imposition of travel bans, isolation requirements and widespread shutdown of the international tourism industry.
According to the updated IMF forecasts from 14th April 2020, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, GDP growth is expected to fall to -10.8% in 2020 and pick up to 8% in 2021, subject to the post-pandemic global economic recovery. Tourism employs 30% of the labor force and generates a quarter of the country’s GDP. Nonetheless swift policy measures have since been employed to combat these fallouts. The Central Bank of Seychelles has reduced the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) to four percent to alleviate stress on borrowers. Further, it announced a credit facility of approximately US$36 million to assist the country’s commercial banking system with emergency relief measures. To reduce the strain on a business system that relies heavily on imports, consumers are being encouraged to be frugal in their spending. The Bank has also warned that pressure placed on the country’s foreign-exchange reserves will be reflected in consumer prices and inflation rates.
Courtesy of Harriet Rowan. Matemwe in Northeast Zanzibar is considered one of the most idyllic.
Zanzibar is one country where tourism is a success. Its name alone is intriguing enough to foreigners. It almost calls one to explore just through its unusual name.
Tourism is said to be a significant source of income in Zanzibar’s economy and its largest source of foreign exchange. In 2018, the sector contributed an estimated 28 percent to the islands’ GDP and 82 percent of its foreign exchange earnings.
According to reports on The East African, in an exclusive interview with Zanzibar’s Minister of Finance Mr. Omar Khamis reveals the isles government is reeling financially from the effects of closing down its ‘lifeline’ tourism industry as one of its first measures to try to nip the spread of the virus in the bud. Revenues from tourism receipts dropped from $200,000 to just $2,000 in the week that followed the industry shutdown, leaving the government in no shape to directly address private sector demands for financial support and bailout while also continuing to run other key social services.
He however revealed alternative revenue sources like the services sector, traditional agriculture and manufacturing, and cautioned that some immediate short-term measures to rescue the economy might not work in the longer term.
Kenya’s game parks, reserves and other wildlife protection areas host some of the wildest and unique game.
The country depends heavily on the sector as a source of foreign exchange, job creation and revenue.
According to the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife statistics, Kenya is the third largest travel and tourism economy in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria. In 2019 2,048,334 international visitors arrived in Kenya, 1,423.971 landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, and 128,222 in Moi International Airport (MIA), Mombasa. 29,462 visitors arrived at other airports and 467,179 visitors arrived by land. In 2018 total arrivals were recorded at 2,025,206, 1.2% increase in 2019. Entry through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Moi International Airport registered a substantial growth of 6.07% and 8.56% respectively. The other entry points especially land borders registered a significant decline of -12.69. This is a clear indication that air transport connectivity is a major driver for the growth of international arrivals to Kenya.
However, multiple flights have been cancelled or suspended across Africa as airlines struggle to cope with falling demand following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (Covid-19). International Air Transport Association (IATA) data shows as of March 11, African airlines has recorded a loss of up to $4.4 billion in revenue since the outbreak of the pandemic. Kenya Airways estimates that it is losing at least USD 8 Million a month, noting that the situation could change more dramatically in coming days as more restrictions in global travel come.
Kenya’s national airline along with other airlines and the rest of the travel industry are facing an uncertain future caused by the coronavirus pandemic. If the pandemic continues for several more months, the World Travel and Tourism Council, projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and US$2.1 trillion in revenue.
From shark cage diving and malaria-free safari zones to experiencing the flavors of Durban, an enclave of Indian culture in Africa that rests right on the Indian Ocean, South Africa combines a European and African flair what most tourist like.
South Africa, so far has recorded the most COVID-19 cases of any African nation. Reports on Reuters say South Africa’s Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane warned parliament last May that up to 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector remained shut until September. With all these havocs caused so far, it is worth noting that Governments of the individual countries listed above are working tirelessly to minimize these effects on their economy. They also however look forward to reopening their borders in the coming days.