More US travelers are trooping to Tanzania, a major shift in the industry as more American tourists have always visited Kenya as a prime destination.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought with it a paradigm shift in the industry with more US tourists looking at Tanzania more than they are looking at Kenya due to its ‘favourable travelling terms’.
Tanzania was the first East African country to open her borders to international passengers at a time that her neighbours, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda were in active lockdown due to increased cases of COVID-19.
With its more receptive nature given it low numbers of COVID-19, Tanzania has become a hotspot for American tourists who previously flew to Kenya.
According to recent data by Tourism Research Institute (TRI), the US trails Tanzania at number three which is a huge jump from August when Tanzania did not make it to the list of top 30 visitors to Kenya.
“Tanzania leads with 4, 309 followed by Uganda (3, 812) and US (3, 458),” TRI data indicated.
Rising cases of COVID-19 and tough containment measures are some of the reasons why US tourists have turned to Tanzania.
There have been massive cancellations from Americans seeking to travel to Kenya especially since October when the number of cases rose drastically, so is the death cases being recorded daily.
The Dusk to dawn curfew imposed by the government until January 2021 is also hurting Kenya’s tourism sector unlike in Tanzania where the feeling of a ‘free world’ abounds. This has given it an upper hand in netting more American tourists.
A leading travel firm, African Safari Company cites Business Daily, Kenyan tour operators are operating at just 25% capacity.
The other 75% remains untouched because bookings are low, a sharp contrast to what has been the norm in past years especially in moths leading to December which a peak season for the hotel industry.
Between January and July 2020, Kenya lost Ksh80 billion in tourism revenue, Tourism CS Najib Balala said.