Hoteliers are optimistic that business will peak after President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the dusk to dawn curfew on 20th October, 2021, describing it as a sigh of relief for the sector.
Since March 2020, Kenya’s hospitality industry has been hit hard by severe restrictions on operations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions caused widespread unemployment, where about 3.1 million jobs were severely affected.
“The lifting of the curfew on Mashujaa Day by President Uhuru Kenyatta has come as a reprieve for many businesses and especially those in tourism and hospitality sector. Since the introduction of the curfew one-and-a-half years ago to contain the spread of Covid-19, the hospitality sector was forced to operate for fewer hours losing millions of shillings,” said Farzana Zahir, PrideInn Hotels Sales and Marketing Director.
Reflecting Zahir’s sentiments, Jackton Amutala, PrideInn Hotels Business Development Director said, “As 2021 started, we saw a growth of 15%-20% in sales figures. However, from late March, the growth started dipping due to the new waves of coronavirus. upon extension of night curfew business dropped by 70-75%.”
Mr. Noorani, Group Managing Director PrideInn Hotels, said that the decision was long overdue adding that prolonged curfew had more harm than benefits adding, All hotel owners were in a fix, we were yet to recover losses incurred last year and having the curfew regulations in place meant hotels couldn’t operate at optimum levels.”
The Government, through the Ministry of Health, also announced the extension of operating hours for bars and restaurants. The move has brought a major relief to bar operators who have been pushing the state to lift the restrictions. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that pubs and eateries will be allowed to close at 11 pm.