Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF), the national apex body of tourism private sector players has urged the government to reconsider its decision to deny tourists seeking to travel to Kenya for holiday from regions perceived to be Covid-19 hotspots.
The government issued a list of 19 countries which it certified to have its nationals allowed to fly into Kenya following the resumption of international flights with effect from August 1st.
KTF national chairman,Mr Mohamed Hersi in a statement said that many visitors eager for holiday in Kenya have already booked tickets to come but their countries of origin were not on the list issued by the government as those that are allowed to have their citizens enter Kenya.
''The exclusion of nations will completely undermine all efforts already put in place by the country's tourism marketer, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and private sector players in attracting few travellers who would wish to visit Africa and Kenya,'' Hersi said.
He said that the exclusion will further negatively affect the troubled national carrier, Kenya Airways.
- READ MORE
- Bushy is the new cool, but will Uhuru shave Covid grooming?
- Cultural tourism can boost our fortunes
- Turkana opens up for tourism
- UK ponders second Covid-19 lockdown as outbreak accelerates
Covid 19 Time Series
''It is in our interest that while we place conditions to protect ourselves, we also do it with reasons,'' Hersi said.
At the sametime, KTF, Hersi added lauded efforts by the government in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
''We will continue to play our part as an industry in supporting our government in dealing with this crisis. As an industry we were in the forefront in drafting and executing detailed guidelines and protocols in mitigating against the risk of Covid-19,'' he said.
He said that the tourism sector has been the biggest casualty of this pandemic.
''Tourism businesses have been non-operational for over four months but despite this they have continued to protect jobs and wages of the over 3 million Kenyans employed in the sector,'' he added.
Hersi applauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for lifting the cessation of movement in and out of the
counties of Nairobi and Mombasa and further thanked Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala (Tourism) and his Transport counterpart, Mr James Macharia for working closely with us in addressing the myriad of challenges that we have faced.
''As we reopen our international airspace on August 1st 2020, the tourism industry supports welcoming to Kenya visitors from all tourism source markets. We support the requirement that all international arriving passengers are in possession of a COVID-19 free certificate obtained no later than 96 hours prior to departure from their home Country,'' the KTF boss said
He, however said that they are of the opinion that this requirement could be increased to 7 days from 4 days since getting these tests in some of our tourist source countries is a huge challenge as they give first priority to people who show clear signs of Covid-19.
''It is also a long shot to get results in under 4 days and then travel. Our visitors equally have to contend with many other vaccines including protection from malaria,'' Hersi said.
At the sametime , KTF announced that it supports the waiver of the 14-days mandatory quarantine for passengers who meet the above requirement and who do not show any Covid-19 related symptoms at the arriving
airport health check-point.
''We believe we are able to salvage of what is left of 2020 and more so safari tourism which
is meant to be a high season,''Hersi added.
The list of 19 countries allowed entry into Kenya includes Canada, South Korea, Namibia, Uganda, China, Rwanda, Morocco, Japan,Zimbabwe, Ethiopia,Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Netherlands, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy and The United States of America (except for California, Florida and Texas)
''We hope and trust that our pleas will be considered since time is of great essence to avoid
massive cancellations,'' Hersi said.