Big relief for Coast hotels as UK de-lists Kenya from red-list
By Philip Mwakio | September 20th 2021
The decision to scrap Kenya from the list of Covid-19 red-list will bolster the country’s international status as a safe tourism destination.
Yesterday, hoteliers in Mombasa described the move by the UK, one of Kenya’s key source markets, as a sigh of relief for the sector reeling under the effects of Covid-19.
Mr Jimi Kariuki, Group Managing Director Sarova Hotels & Resorts Kenya, said that the development was long overdue adding that the UK has always been an important inbound holiday travel market for Kenya.
‘’The easing of the travel restrictions by the UK government will definitely help in encouraging a restart of travel from the UK to Kenya. Our Covid-19 situation is way better than many countries who were not on the UK’s travel red list and I wish to congratulate the government for continuing to keep our country safe and to Kenyans for keeping each other safe,’’ he said.
Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa Managing director, Mr Bobby Kamani said that Kenya’s tourism resilience has paid off following the latest development which could trigger tourism traffic from one of the largest tourist markets for Kenya.
‘’We had to look elsewhere after the UK put Kenya in its red listing. The sudden shift coming at a time of global pandemic made us target other source markets in Eastern Europe which did not disappoint,’’ Kamani said.
He said that they are excited at the prospects of having the UK market fully back into Kenya after the review takes effect from September 22, 2021.
Kamani at the same time lauded the government efforts making certified Covid-19 vaccines available to the general public at a time when there is a global campaign to have people fully vaccinated to gain more protection from the virus.
‘’At the Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa, we have taken the cue and ensured that all health protocols are observed. All our 220 staff working in this 142 roomed resort have had their first and second covid jabs already,’’ Kamani said.
He said that Kenya can easily learn from the success of massive vaccine rollout in the UK which has made great strides in having its populations fully vaccinated.
“It has been two years of real hard times for all and sundry. The tourism industry has suffered the most with most hotels forced to shut down operations or cut down on the workforce. With the vaccine rollout, we are seeing light at the end of the very dark tunnel,’’ Kamani said.
He said he was optimistic that every adult had been vaccinated, some restrictions put in place as a means of containing the virus spread could be eased.
The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch Executive Officer, Dr Sam Okwaye said containment measures and the rolling out of the vaccines was finally paying off.
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