Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has increased park entry fees for Kenyans and cut the charges paid by foreign nationals amid reduced travel in the wake of Covid-19.
Locals will pay Sh800 from Sh500 to enter Nakuru and Amboseli parks, reflecting a 60 percent rise, while charges for Nairobi National Park will increase to Sh400 from Sh300.
Entry fee to the Tsavo East and West National parks is now Sh500 from Sh350, a 42.8 percent jump.
The fees foreign nationals to Nakuru and Amboseli parks was slashed by more than half to $35 (Sh3, 787) from $80 (8, 656).
They will pay $35 (Sh3,787) from $40 (Sh4,328) to access the Nairobi National Park.
The increment comes less than four months after Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala reversed a bid to increase the rate following a backlash.
The higher fees drew protest from Kenyans on social media who argued that the timing was wrong, citing the effect of coronavirus-related travel restrictions on Kenya’s tourism sector.
Mr Balala has now revised the rates upwards through a legal notice, nearly two months after Kenya announced phased reopening of the country from a Covid-19 lockdown, lifting restrictions on travel in and out of the Nairobi and Mombasa as well as allowing air travel to resume.
Kenya expects the resumption of travel to boost tourism, especially domestic travellers in a year that saw the country lose Sh80 billion, about half of last year’s total, in the six months to June due to the coronavirus crisis.
KWS said earlier it expects to collect about 20 percent of the projected Sh4.62 billion annual revenue from park fees due to reduced tourism activities.
The higher park fees are expected to ease KWS revenue drop, despite analysts forecasting that foreign travel will take up to three years to return to pre-Covid-19 levels.
Four months ago KWS had announced increase in park fees by up to 300 percent for Kenyans.
Locals were to pay Sh1,500 to visit Lake Nakuru and Amboseli national parks during the peak period and Sh800 during the off-peak period.