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Tourism dips amid Kenya, Dar row

NEWS
By Philip Mwakio | August 30th 2020

Investors in the tourism industry have said the ongoing tension between Kenya and Tanzania is damaging to the sector’s growth.

Kenya Tourism Federation Chairman Mohamed Hersi said the friction that seems to be escalating is unfortunate, particularly at a time when the world is facing the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is quite unnecessary. This friction and misunderstanding needs to be solved once and for all to enable the friendly states to get back to normal,” he said.

Mr Hersi, who is also the director of operations at Pollmans Tours and Safaris, said there was little that the two countries are fighting over, considering that the region attracts far less tourists than other global destinations.

“Africa combined accounts for a paltry five per cent and half of all the international arrivals into the continent go to North Africa, largely due to proximity to key source market in Europe. The remainder goes to the rest of Africa,” he said.

Huge potential

There is need to embrace intra-Africa travel, he said, which has a lot of potential hence the need for African states to work closely with each other.

Tourism Professional Association Chairman Paul Kurgat said there is need to engage in urgent talks to break the stalemate over airspace access.

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Tanzania slammed the door on Kenya Airways flights into its territories early this month in a move seen as retaliatory following Kenya’s decision to leave out its neighbour’s airlines from flying into the country.

It was followed by another ban by Tanzania’s authorities on low-cost carriers Fly 540, Air Kenya and Safari Link last week.

Mr Kurgat said that while the world airspace is slowly opening up with flight resumptions, it was disheartening to see Kenya and Tanzania deny each other the essential service.

“Businesses are hurting big time. We urge President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli to end the stalemate and ensure normalcy returns,” he said.  

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