Kenya drops Euro and Sterling pounds in favor of US Dollar as the preferred currency in its famed parks

Tourists visiting Kenya’s parks will no longer be able to pay gate/entry fees using Euro and Sterling pounds.

View of Kenya's Capital from Nairobi National Park.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has issued an announcement that it has discontinued the use of the Euro and British sterling pound in transacting its business including the processing of park entry fees.

On Thursday, the state corporation said going forward it will only accept the Kenyan shilling and US dollar as the only valid legal tender at national parks and game reserves.

“This means that KWS shall henceforth transact in two currencies only; Kenya Shillings (Kes) and United States Dollars ($),” KWS said in a statement.

What this means for you

KWS did not, however, disclose the reason behind the droping of the Eurozone currencies from use, leaving tourists to fill up the gaps for themselves and convert their euro denominated sums into either US dollars or Kenyan shillings before transacting in the wild conservancies.

However, the cashless mode of transaction remains available to visitors including the use of Safaricom M-Pesa, Visa and Master Card credit cards and corporate cheques.

In recent months, KWS has been encouraging the adoption of cashless payments with a means to ease the accessibility to parks.

Why it matters

Tourism is one of Kenya’s top foreign earners and accounts for more than 10 % of the GDP.

In 2018, the gods smiled on Kenya and a record number of tourists visited the country after years of slow growth.

Kenya’s 2018 tourist arrivals grew by 37.33 percent from the previous year to cross the two million mark for the first time.

The surge in tourist’s numbers saw significant growth in earnings to Sh157 billion, a 31.2 percent improvement from the Sh119 billion earned in 2017, according to Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.

“The gains of the sector were as a result of coordinated efforts between various arms of government, whom the tourism sector has engaged, as well as the concerted efforts in marketing Kenya as a destination of choice,” Mr Balala said, while releasing the tourism data at State House, Mombasa.

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