Local hoteliers lead by Kenya Coast Hoteliers Working Group Chair, Hasnain Noorani have applauded government’s intention to secure 24 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines worth Ksh 10 billion from Gavi Alliance which is expected in early next year.

Players in the industry hope they will be among the first beneficiaries of the vaccine.The travel and hospitality sector has so far been one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic since the beginning the year.

“These promising developments on the vaccine front have sparked optimism to hoteliers that the pandemic’s end may be in sight. But if the market trends that immediately followed positive vaccine news are any indication, hospitality and travel industry sectors in Kenya and beyond will benefit a lot more than others,” said  Hasnain Noorani, Managing Director for PrideInn Hotel Group.

Noorani added that countries will now feel comfortable opening their borders to vacationers once the vaccine is rolled out.

The travel and hospitality industries were among the sectors most immediately and severely hit when the COVID 19 virus was announced in March. Closed borders, curfew orders, companies cancelling business travel, and a general fear of catching the highly contagious virus brought travel to a halt. Several travel related companies went through layoffs in the weeks and months to follow.

However, this festive season, bookings especially from domestic tourists have been positive contrary to what was expected, below 15 percent occupancy.

“Obviously it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen, but based on vaccines trends, we believe we’ll see at least a 70 percent recovery probably by end of Quarter 1 of 2021,” said Noorani.