Radisson Blu to reopen May as Covid-19 eases


Radisson Blu in Nairobi’s Upper Hill. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Global hotel brand Radisson Blu has announced plans to resume operations in Nairobi Upper Hill on easing of the coronavirus crisis.

Low bookings due to the Covid-19 pandemic pushed the establishment to halt operations and send most of its staff home in December 2020.

Without delving much into details, the hotel has said it will reopen on May 9, in what comes as a boost to its employees.

It becomes the second five-star hotel to reopen after The Norfolk amid a decline in the country's daily coronavirus case count on increased mass vaccinations.

Kenya’s positivity rate now stands at 0.3 percent, with the country abolishing the need for quarantine arriving passengers and mandatory PCR tests at the airport.

Most five-star hotels rely on tourism, events, and conferences which are slowly resuming normal operations.

At the time of halting its operations, Radisson said the decision to send staff home was aimed at mitigating the economic impact of Covid-19 on the business.

The 271-room hotel was mainly running on conferences and parties in the busy Upper Hill area, attracting business people who wanted venues outside the city centre.

A number of the released employees who spoke to the Business Daily on anonymity said they were given severance pay and told that they would be given priority when conditions will be right to reopen.

Severance pay is the amount paid to workers on early termination of contracts.

Nairobi’s Upper Hill’s sister establishments —Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Nairobi Arboretum and Park Inn by Radisson Nairobi Westlands– remained in operation.

The Upper Hill hotel is the largest facility compared to the other two whose joint bed capacity is 262.

Kenya’s tourism earnings dropped by Sh71 billion in 2020 as the suspension of international and domestic flights to curb the spread of the coronavirus locked out holidaymakers.

Data from the Economic Survey shows that Kenya earned Sh91.7 billion in the review period from Sh163.6 billion in 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic hit one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange-earners.

Kenya suspended international and domestic flights and banned social gatherings in March 2020 after the first Covid-19 case was detected in the country, halting operations in the tourism sector.

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