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State moots task force to reopen economy

By Philip Mwakio | June 1st 2020
CS Najib Balala

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has established the National Tourism and Hospitality Protocols Taskforce.

The 17-member task force has been established to develop Tourism and Hospitality protocols and guidelines in response to COVID-19 pandemic and to support tourism operations as a result thereof.

Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Najib Balala said that they have a seven day period to have the intended protocol in place.

''All the industry players representing the various sectors of the industry are on board and have in their capacities come up with draft proposals (Protocols) which they will forward to the Health Ministry for endorsement before operationalisation,'' Balala said.
Balala said that they want to be in top shape and ready when the government finally eases restrictions in place before the economy is opened.
“We have appointed a 17-member task force to establish guidelines in response to COVID- 19. Some protocols are ready and some not yet. We urge every sector to come up with their protocols. All these protocols must align with the Ministry of Health measures so that we can have safety and hygiene for our people,'' Balala explained.
Members of the Taskforce shall include Principal Secretary, State Department of Tourism, Chief Executive Officer Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, Chief Executive Officer Kenya Association of Tour Operators, Chief Executive Officer Pubs, Entertainment and Restaurants Association of Kenya and the Chief Executive Officer Kenya Association of Air Operators.
Others in the task force include Chief Executive Officer Events Management Association of Kenya, Chief Executive Officer Tour Operators Society of Kenya, Representative of Adventure Tourism, Chief Executive Officer Retail Traders Association of Kenya, Chief Executive Officer Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association and Chief Executive Officer Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association
The Director Tourism Research, Policy, and Innovation Directorate, State Department of Tourism, Director-General: Tourism Regulatory Authority, Director-General, Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Chief Executive Officer Kenya Airports Authority and National Co-ordinator of Kenya National Convention Bureau are also task force members.
There will be three representatives drawn from international airlines that fly into Kenya in the taskforce.
Balala added that the task force further aims to set standards and develop tourism and hospitality health and safety protocols as well as develop guidelines for the implementation of the protocols.
It shall also be tasked with proposing an implementation approach for the protocols, make recommendations for effective compliance and self-regulation of the industry in the implementation of the protocols, identify and recommend areas of support needed during the the implementation of the protocols.
In the end, the task force is expected to compile and submit to the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife a Taskforce Report and the Draft Protocols.
“These protocols will be common and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be localised so that when the Government eases the restrictions on the economy, these protocols will be in place for the sector to adhere to.” added the CS.
The Taskforce has been established following a series of consultations with different stakeholders in the industry.
The CS said that from airlines, transport, accommodation, restaurants, and many others, the Taskforce will ensure that the industry’s sub-sectors are compliant with the protocols once the economy re-opens.

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