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Hoteliers: New Covid directives stifling tourism

By Philip Mwakio | Dec 30th 2021 | 2 min read
By Philip Mwakio | December 30th 2021

Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) Chairman Victor Shitakah. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

Hospitality industry players in Coast yesterday said the frequent shift in policy on the war against the spread of Covid-19 would adversely affect the recovery of tourism sector.

Speaking in Mombasa, the hoteliers said the knee-jerk reaction from government officials whenever a new Covid-19 variant is reported was affecting business and creating unnecessary panic.

Kenya Coast Tourist Association (KCTA) Chairman Victor Shitakah termed the recent directive to compel guests to produce Covid-19 vaccination certificates before being allowed into hotels as draconian.

Shitakah said several hotels recorded last-minute cancellations after the new directive was issued.

"For example, a struggling tour company is refunding some $7,000 (Sh792,000) to clients who had booked a one-week holiday safari to Tsavo East and West National Park over the Christmas weekend after guests who were not vaccinated failed to access a key conservation area," Shitakah said.

Last week, Health Chief Administration Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said all organised events, hotels, bars, supermarkets and banks will only admit fully vaccinated citizens.

Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers official Zack Osore said there was an obsessed focus on hotels in the ongoing war against Covid-19.

"Hoteliers have conformed with the protocols and so the government should focus on politicians," said Osore.

Coronavirus caseload has been on the rise since confirmation of the highly infectious Omicron variant in the country last week.

The positivity rate rose from 29.6 per cent on Monday to 29.7 per cent on Wednesday last week, which is among the highest levels since Kenya recorded the first Covid-19 case on March 12, 2020.

The High Court recently temporarily suspended a Ministry of Health directive seeking to bar Kenyans who have not been vaccinated from accessing in-person services in government offices.

Shitakah, who is also managing director of Shitakah & Shitakah Consultancy, said hoteliers will not support initiatives that derail recovery efforts.

Also present during the meeting was Kenya Association of Women in Tourism Mombasa County Chairperson Janet Chamia, who is also the proprietor of Jackyjoka Holiday Apartments, Managing Director of African Quest Safaris Tasneem Adamji and Director of Shehnai Restaurant Mehboob Harunani.

The government had set a target of vaccinating 10 million Kenyans by the end of the year. So far 9.2 million people have received one dose of Covid-19 jab while 3.7 million have received two doses.

Covid 19 Time Series


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