The famous opening phrase of L.P. Hartley’s novel, The Go-Between, came to mind when my photos app reminded me of where I was a year ago: Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The phrase was apparently first used by Hartley’s friend, David Cecil, in a lecture in 1949. We all plagiarize our past, and I am nostalgic enough about having lived in that foreign planet where travel was easy, to post this video today.
Tourism made up approximately 10% of Kenya’s GDP in the past decade, with some year-to-year variation. The shock that COVID-19 has had on travel however will have much wider impact than this number suggests. According to a study commissioned by the World Bank it’ll impact the net earning of the rural poor by almost 15%, of the government by about 10%, and of enterprises by a number more or less midway between these. These huge impacts are similar to what is happening across the world.