Leisure, recreation costs hit two-year high surge

 Flamingo Prideinn Beach Resort

Tourists relax at Flamingo Prideinn Beach Resort in Mombasa. 


Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Increase is mainly due to a significant jump in fuel prices.
  • KNBS estimates households spend about 1.7 per cent of their income on leisure.
  • Leisure, sporting, and cultural activities remain on a rebound following disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kenyan households endured the sharpest rise in the cost of recreation, sports, and culture in more than two years in June as many cut back on certain activities.

The cost of fun activities such as games, toys, camping, sports equipment, cinema, theatre, concerts, and package holidays rose by 3.06 per cent in June compared to 0.74 per cent in a similar month in 2021, new data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows.

This is the highest increase in the cost of leisure and recreation since CBK started publishing the data using the rebased consumer price indices (CPI) in February 2020.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) revised the CPI, raising the basket of goods used to measure inflation to 330 from 234 to more accurately track inflation.

KNBS estimates that Kenyan households spend about 1.7 per cent of their income on leisure activities monthly, on average.

The increase in the cost of leisure activities in June was only outpaced by the rise in the cost of essential goods and services such as food, water, electricity, and transport.

On the rebound

The rise is mainly due to a sharp rise in fuel cost in the period that raised the cost of doing business as demand improved in a rebounding economy.

In June, diesel was retailing at an average of Sh140.91 and petrol at Sh159.14 per litre, a 29.8 per cent and 25 per cent increase in their costs respectively from the previous year.

Leisure, sporting, and cultural activities remain on a rebound following disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most outdoor fun was halted by the movement and public gathering restrictions imposed in March 2020 when Covid-19 struck.

This saw the contribution of leisure activities to the national gross domestic product (GDP) drop from Sh27 billion in 2019 to Sh19.9 billion in 2020.

The lifting of these restrictions has seen cinemas, theatres, clubs and other recreational joints reopen to the public amid increased demand, triggering a rise in prices.

The sector’s recovery has seen its contribution to the GDP resume its pre-pandemic annual growth to Sh23.4 billion.

Food inflation

Inflation has risen sharply over the past year, hitting a five-year high of 8.5 per cent in August, mainly driven by high food and fuel prices.

Food inflation hit 13.76 per cent in June, household equipment 9.2 per cent, transport 7.09 per cent, and electricity, water, housing, and cooking gas 6.76 per cent.

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