Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has hinted at the state’s plan to reopen the country after nearly two years of curfew and other restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Speaking at a media forum on the Magical Kenya Travel Expo, the CS indicated that the government is considering removing the restrictions that continue to hurt the economy in a month’s time.
“We are optimistic…in a month’s time or so we will be able to open up,” said Balala.
Tourism is among sectors heavily hit by the effects of the pandemic not just in Kenya but across the world.
According to the Economic Survey 2021 report released last month, Kenya’s economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in 2020 compared to a 5 per cent growth in 2019, as it took a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic.
CS Balala said the ongoing vaccination drive is key in the re-opening. This, he said, will boost the confidence of international visitors.
The minister revealed that the government targets to inoculate at least 10 million people by December.
The revelations come at a time stakeholders in the Tourism sector continue to urge the government to review the ongoing curfew.
“We need to relax the curfew rules and have a vaccination policy for external visitors if we are going to realise real change in numbers,” Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers(KAHC) CEO Michael Macharia said on Tuesday.
The government on Monday extended the 10pm-4am curfew for a further 30 days.
Speaking during the Covid-19 information portal launch, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the time will be used to vaccinate as many people as possible.
The CS noted that the country has in recent weeks experienced a lower infection rate but is yet to achieve the recommended 5 percent positivity for a consistent period of 14 days.
He said that it is only after the public is vaccinated that the economy will be reopened.