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Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the safety of travelers all over the world as a result of the Covid—19 Pandemic has become a priority./FILE

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A COVID-19 Vaccine Could Help Revive the Tourism Industry – Balala

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 25- Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says the recovery of the sector is pegged on the approval and release of a COVID-19 vaccine, that will curb the spread of the disease.
Balala said the roll out of such a vaccine will erase fears in international travels.
“But I want to say definitely with the introduction, issuance of a vaccine, I think this will remove fear and bring solutions to this sector, ” Balala said.
“Without a vaccine, there’s no future for the tourism industry, I hope we can be able to disseminate these products all over the world in time so that next year 2021 July, we will have a semblance of business coming back to Kenya,” he added.
The search for a virus has been in progress in many countries with the latest report coming from US firm Moderna.
According to the firm, the new vaccine is  95 percent effective in protecting against the virus.
Kenya’s tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
As at June 2020, the industry  reported that it had made losses of up to Sh80billion in revenue, since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the country, in mid-March this year.
The sector is however seeing signs of possible recovery. Last week, a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics revealed that the total number of visitors arriving through Jomo Kenyatta (JKIA) and Moi International Airports (MIA) increased from 13,919 persons in August 2020 to 20,164 persons in September 2020.
The survey reported that this was an increase from 32,503 persons in August 2020 to 34,525 persons in September 2020.
Last year, tourism sector earnings were up by 4 percent in 2019 to stand at Sh163 billion compared to the Sh157. 4 billion recorded in 2018.

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