NAIROBI, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenya tourism sector revenues declined by 80 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 when the country realized 162 billion shillings (1.5 billion U.S. dollars), a government official said on Wednesday.
Jimi Kariuki, chairman of Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) told Xinhua in Nairobi that the sector closed down in March 2020 after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the country and did not reopen until August 2020.
"The sector was also affected by the travel restrictions imposed from our key tourism source markets," Kariuki said on the sidelines of the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive for frontline workers in the tourism and hospitality sector.
Data from the ministry of tourism shows the tourism sector directly contributes 4.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Kariuki said that the country's tourism industry is very dependent on foreign visitors whose numbers declined in 2020.
According to the government agency, the local hospitality and leisure sector was mostly relying on domestic tourists last year.
Kariuki revealed that the tourism sector revenues will also be significantly affected this year due to travel restrictions put in place by Britain and the United States on travel to Kenya.