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Tourism Sector Celebrates UK Redlist Removal

The move by the United Kingdom (UK) to remove Kenya from the Covid-19 Red List has revived hopes of booming tourism in Kenya. 

Now, tourism sector players have said the move will enable international tourists to begin booking for holidays.

Kenya is among countries that were on the red list of countries that were regarded as not safe due to the covid 19 Pandemic but with the removal from the list international travel shall now resume as from September 2022.

Already stakeholders are gearing up for international guests as charters will resume direct flights to Kenya ahead of the festive season in December.

In Malindi tourism stakeholders who took part in the World, Coastal Ocean clean-up day said the decision to remove Kenya from the red list was key in opening up the destination that suffered greatly since the pandemic begun as there were no international tourists visiting the renowned destination.

The Chairperson of the Association of Women in Tourism Coast region Kate Mwikali who led the beach clean-up exercise from the Ocean beach resort area along the Malindi coastal line said they have been doing monthly cleanups to keep the resort town and beaches clean and are ready to receive international tourists.

“We are very happy to have been removed from the red list countries because that restores confidence in the travelers,” she said.
Ms Mwikali who is also the chairperson of the Progress Welfare Association of Malindi said the move will also open up the aviation industry with Malindi already open for tourists for the last few months.

She said Malindi tourism players have been following the Covid-19 pandemic protocols so as to ensure the safety of guests.

With the removal from the red list countries, she said traveling will now be cheaper as tourists will not have to quarantine for 10 days which was mandatory.

She said Malindi has a certified marine park and Arabuko Sokoke with a conducive environment for tourists to enjoy their holidays.

“We are optimistic that domestic, international, and regional tourism is going to be open, we hope more people are going to be vaccinated to get the threshold of at least 80 percent,” she said.

Mwikali urged Kenyans not to shy away from the vaccination as whatever the case when one is born one day he or she will definitely die.

“Don’t be shy about it, don’t be shy about vaccination i9f you care about your community, if you care about your children, your future get vaccinated let’s kick start the economy,” she said.

Judith Mwamidi a director of Kilimandogo residence a tourism resort with over 50 rooms in Malindi said she was happy to hear Kenya has been removed from the red list as it would be an added advantage for the tourism sector.

Mwamidi who took part in the Ocean clean up said currently they are already expecting more visitors to tour the Coastal town.

“Since corona came tourism sector had gone down and now we are happy that we will be expecting more visitors now, especially in Malindi tourism had really gone down,” she said.

Currently, she said they are ready to receive international tourists, we actually are waiting for them they are really welcomed here,’ she said. 

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Last Week Kilifi governor Amason Kingi together with Kilifi North MP Owen Baya called on the National government to prioritize mass vaccination for tourism players so as to ensure the country is removed from the red list as it was affecting the sector. 

During the meeting, Baya specifically said Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi, and the Coast region at large entirely depend on tourists but due to the country being on the red list it has led to massive job losses. 

He said their people in the region have no money to sustain their livelihoods because tourism resorts are closed. 

The MP said the international community could only direct their tourists in safe zones for Covid-19  to avoid risking their lives. 

“All staff of Moi International Airport Mombasa must be vaccinated because all our international tourists at the Coast pass through there, all taxi drivers in the coast, tour drivers, beach operators, and hotel workers must all be given priority together with those working in supermarkets,” he said. 

Baya said by doing so the region would be declared a safe zone and tourists from the International market will begin flocking. 

Elvis Shilaho a student at the Technical University of Kenya in Nairobi who joined others in the clean-up exercise said the move was important to keep the environment clean and attract more tourists to the resort town.

Ian Munyua a local tourist said he was happy to be part of the stakeholders cleaning up the beach so as to conserve the environment. 

*This article was written by Ramadhan Kambi for Uzalendo News.  Email: uzalendonews24@gmail.com to submit your story.

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