National carriers in Mauritius, Kenya and Namibia run into more financial trouble as flights were grounded. In South Africa, listed hotel group, Sun International, announced two of its casinos won’t reopen after the country’s coronavirus lockdown ends. The Kenyan government expects losses of as much as $511 million in hotel-room revenue if the pandemic persists.
Travel and tourism contributed $168 billion to African economies last year, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. Island nations including Mauritius and Seychelles heavily rely on the travellers for revenue.
Several African economies without mineral resources and oil have managed to monetise their beaches and wildlife. Uganda and Rwanda are popular destinations for mountain gorilla trekking, while Mauritius, Seychelles and Comoros have drawn millions of tourists seeking seaside holidays. Spending by these visitors, a key source of revenue has dried up since March.
In 2019, the number of visitors to Mauritius was about 1.4 million - that was more than its population of 1.3 million people. The picture changed when the Indian Ocean island nation imposed a lockdown from March 20 and arrivals for April, May and June were almost zero. The country recorded its last Covid-19 death on April 27, but that won’t be enough to get tourists back. Its national carrier,