One of Kenya’s luxurious hotel in Nairobi, The Fairmont Norfolk has closed indefinitely and fired all its employees.
Management has attributed to firing to the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the business.
The Country Manager Mehdi Morad in a Memo dated May 27, said that due to the uncertainty Covid-19 pandemic, the firm has been forced to terminate employee contracts and close their properties at the Norfolk and Fairmont Mara Safari Cub.
“It is therefore the decision of the management to terminate the Services of all its employees due to “frustration” by way of mutual separation and taking into account the loyalty and dedication the employees have put into the success of our company in the previous years,” the Memo reads.
The staff will receive their termination letters by June 5, 2020.
This is not a first in the industry since the coronavirus outbreak. Other hotels that have shut down in Kenya include Serena Hotels, Weston Hotel, Enashipai Resort and Spa, Ole Sereni Hotel, DusitD2 Nairobi, Sopa Lounges and White Rhino Hotel among others.
According to the March 2020 data published by the global hospitality data, a sharp drop of occupancy rates of nearly 96 percent in the entire global hospitality industry due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been reported.
Kenya’s travel and tourism sector is not only a major employer but has inter-industry linkages with other sectors such as energy, agriculture and manufacturing.
Suppliers of services and goods used in the travel and tourism industry are either experiencing low demand for services such as travel and food or out of business.
The reduction in travel and tourism industry has also had a spatial effect on unemployment as the sector employs over 1.1 million Kenyans.
In Kenya, most hotels have reported occupancy rates of well below 10 percent against 75 percent normally.
Kenya’s government has already set aside Sh500 million for the tourism sector recovery that will be used to market the country once the pandemic eases.
Kenya is the third largest travel and tourism economy in Africa after South Africa and Nigeria.
In 2019 about 2,048,334 international visitors arrived in Kenya, compared to 2,025,206 in 2018 a 1.2 percent increase.
The US is the top source country for Kenya’s travel and tourism industry, followed by the UK, India, China, Germany, France, and Italy.
However, these top 10 source countries for tourists to Kenya, that is the US, the UK, India, China, Germany, France, and Italy have been hard hit by corona virus.