Home Economy KWS raises park fees for foreign visitors

KWS raises park fees for foreign visitors

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Wildlife and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
Wildlife and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has reviewed entry fees to national parks and reserves through the introduction of high and low season charges that will see Kenyans pay up to Sh200 less in some facilities.

Gate charges for Nakuru and Amboseli National parks have been reduced to Sh800 and Sh600 in the high and low seasons respectively from the current flat rate of Sh860.

Entry charges for Meru and Aberdares National Parks have been increased to Sh500 in the high season from Sh300.

International tourists will pay up to Sh1,100 more to visit Nakuru and Amboseli National Parks after the rates were adjusted to Sh8,104 ($70 ) in the high season from Sh6,946 ($60).

The high season runs from July 1 to February 29 while the reverse is between March 1 and June 30.

The new charges will apply from July 1 to the end of next year and come amid recovery of the tourism sector from the deep Covid-19-induced slump as local travellers take advantage of lower prices.

But foreign visitor numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels.

“The following fees shall be applicable for the period between the 1st July 2022 and the 31st December 2023,” Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says in the notice.

The revised rates are aimed at boosting KWS revenues that were hit by the travel slump.

Entry fees for Tsavo East and West have been reduced by Sh200 to Sh300 in the low season and unchanged at Sh500 in the high season.

International tourists will pay Sh2,894 ($25) to visit Maasai Mara in the high season up from the current flat rate of Sh1,505 ($13).

Gate charges for locals visiting the Nairobi National Park have been reduced to Sh400 in the low season from Sh430. Kenyans will, however, pay more to visit the park in the high season after the rates were increased to Sh500.

International tourists will pay 6,946 ($60) to visit the Nairobi National Park in the peak season from a flat rate of 4,978 ($43). Charges in the low season will be Sh4,630 ($40).

Tourism earnings slumped to Sh88.6 billion in 2020 as governments restricted the movement of people, including through the closure of air spaces, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

They bounced back to Sh146 billion last year, with the number of hotel nights occupied by Kenyan travellers doubling during the period. It targets Sh173 billion.