The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed 230,000 jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector since March as businesses operated under minimum capacity or completely shut down.
Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the worst-hit were labourers in the hotel, tourism, aviation and horticulture sector.
Kenya instituted measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 in March, including movement restrictions, closing of bars and restaurants hitting hard the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Due to the nature of their working environment, the sectors had to downsize the number of employees and therefore rendering almost half of their workers jobless,” said Mr Chelugui.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows accommodation and food services activities shrunk by 83.3 percent in the second quarter compared to 12.1 percent growth at a similar period in 2019.
“The significantly reduced number of visitors’ arrivals as well as restrictions of movement within the country adversely affected the sector’s performance,” noted KNBS in the 2020 Quarter Two Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report.
The hospitality sector has been ravaged by the effects of restrictions imposed to slow down the spread of Coronavirus such as dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Reduced global travel in the wake of the global pandemic has delivered a big hit to the country’s tourism industry
The KNBS data shows about 1.72 million workers lost jobs in three months to June when Kenya imposed coronavirus-induced lockdown that led to layoffs and pay cuts.
It shows the number of people in employment fell to 15.87 million between April and end of June compared to 17.59 million the previous quarter.