Inside Politics

Ticket sales soar, signal recovery

Friday, July 9th, 2021 00:00 |
An elderly man undergoes a COVID-19 nasal swab test. Photo/Courtesy

Steve Umidha @UmidhaSteve

Air ticket sales transactions by Kenyan travel agencies have increased for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic signalling a recovery.

Analysts say that July marks the third time transactions count increased on a month-on-month basis, with the uptick corresponding with reductions in the number of new Covid-19 cases across the country, as well as increased vaccinations.

A new report by MasterCard Economics Institute notes that for domestic flight activity, one-fifth of countries have returned to at least 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, with Kenya among markets primed for take-off this year.

Upward trajectory

“Air travel remains down significantly globally, although the trajectory is upwards.

In markets like the UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya, international flight bookings are climbing, but are still at a fraction of where they were before the pandemic began,” reads in part the report released yesterday.

Kenya’s tourism sector has registered improvement and has been upbeat with domestic holiday business revamping . This after the government lifted restrictions on inter-county travel as well as a near-full return of international travel.

Kenya’s domestic flights restarted in mid-July last year while international arrivals restarted in August 2020 following flight suspension in response to the pandemic.

Initiatives such as unveiling of the ‘2021-2022 Magical Kenya Signature Experiences by Kenya’s Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala in February are also thought to have activated such transactions.

Global pandemic

Kenya tourism sector revenues declined by 80 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 when the country realised Sh162 billion  ($1.5 billion) which was largely as a result of the global pandemic.

“There are indicators of recovery across some markets in the Middle East and Africa.

For example, gas spending in Nigeria and Egypt are already above 2019 peaks,” said David Mann, MasterCard chief economist, for Asia and MEA .

“Although we still have some way to go amidst ongoing uncertainty, there is an appetite among consumers to move and discover.

Alongside safe, systematic opening of markets and continued momentum in vaccine rollouts, countries will start to see more signs of gradual travel recovery,” he said.

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