Do not travel to Kenya due to Covid–19. Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism, health issues, and kidnapping - US Embassy 
In Summary

•The US has cautioned its citizens against traveling to Kenya due to Covid–19, and has asked them to exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism, health issues, and kidnapping.

•It is the leading international tourist market source for Kenya.

Tourists enjoy the scenery at Tree Tops Hotel in Nyeri county. The Central Kenya circuit and Mount Kenya region is preferred by American tourists coming to Kenya/FILE

The US administration's decision retain the highest travel advisory on Kenya has dealt a major blow to tourism, according to  sector players and investment advisors.

The leading international tourist market source for Kenya last week issued a ‘Level Four Travel Health Advisory’ to American nationals, due to what it said was the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the country, as advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

It came days after the UK added Kenya on its ‘Red List’, saying it had established the lethal South African coronavirus variant is spreading locally, with the country having a high rate of Covid-19 infections.

Kenyans or anybody transiting through Kenyan airports was banned from setting foot in the UK effective April 9, save for residents who have to undergo mandatory quarantine at a government listed facility.

On its website, US Embassy in Kenya said: “Do not travel to Kenya due to Covid–19. Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism, health issues, and kidnapping.”

According to investment firm–Cytonn, the move by both UK and USA is expected to result in a decline in the number of tourist arrivals, as the two markets are key sources.

Latest data from the Tourism Research Institute (TRI) shows US and UK were ranked as second and fourth highest source markets for tourists in Kenya, respectively from January to October 2020, with 53,444 tourists from US and 42,341 tourists from UK.

Pre-Covid, the US was the top market source for Kenya with 245,437 arrivals in 2019, a year that the country record the highest international numbers ever, at 2,048, 834.

UK arrivals during the year totaled 181,484.

“The expected declines in the tourism arrivals coupled with the current travel restrictions within the country is likely to affect the performance of serviced apartments which has witnessed subdued performance since the onset of the pandemic in Kenya,” Cytonn says in its weekly report.

This is expected to take a toll on occupancy rates as most tourists and expatriates will opt to stay in their countries.

The investment firm notes that serviced apartments in 2020 softened with the occupancy rates declining by 31.3 per cent points to 48 per cent, from 79.4 per cent. By Martin Mwita, The Star