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‘If You Want Proof Of Vaccination In Hotels, Ask For The Same During Political Rallies’ Hospitality Sector Tells Gov’t

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Kenya Coast Tourism Association (KTCA) chairman Victor Shitakha now wants the Ministry of Health to do away with directives requiring the presentation of Covid-19 certificates in the hotels and the tourism sector.

Odibets

While addressing a conference that was attended by representatives of the Hospitality Industry, Shitakha decried the COVID-19 effects in the sector over the past two years that led to the collapse of many industries and has since frustrated the economy.

Shitakha said that the Ministry Of Health had imposed the law illegally and discriminated against the Industry forgetting to do the same to other sectors where he specifically identified the political arena.

He urged MoH to rule out the law, failure to which he threatened his sector would boycott the directives unless the same is applied to political rallies and gatherings.

“We would like to ask the Ministry to scrap it out but if they want to continue, then they also ask all these rallies to give out certificates before the rallies,” Shitakha stated.

“There is one in my home area, Bukhungu, and I know many people will come there; so let them go there and put in those rules that anybody to come in or in any other rally to have a vaccination certificate,”

“Then it would be fair to ask the people in the hospitality industry to do the same. If they don’t do that we shall continue to ignore that illegal directive,” he concluded.

Shitakha reiterated that imposing the directive has led to visitors canceling hotel bookings and wants the Ministry to ease the stiff law which he said will cripple the industry that is already ailing.

“We would like to ask the Ministry of Health to be sensitive with our hotels and the tourism fraternity. We have gone through a lot; Just when it is picking up, they come up with these rules,” stated Shitakha.

“Most of the units did not carry out the illegal directive and they allowed people to come into their hotels but what they did is that they upped their games; Protocols were observed, people were checked and hotels were full,” he said.

He added: “They chose from December 21 when all hotels were busy. The coast was just beginning to pick up from Lamu to Shimoni hotels were full. We are talking about 90 to 100 percent of occupants. Immediately after the directive had been given, people started canceling. Big hotels had cancellations.”

Shitakha cited an incident where a tour operating company lost about Ksh 700,000 in a booking that was canceled.

“There is a tour operating company that had a booking for $7000 (Ksh. 792,260) for one week because the guy was supposed to come from Mombasa to Tsavo National park and come back; just for drives, but imagine they were supposed to give out certificates in the bus,” he explained.

Consequently, he asserted that the industry was not against vaccination, but rather on the stiff ways employed in implementing it. He argued that since it was not mandatory constitutionally, people should not be forced to take it.

“We are not against vaccination, what we are saying, even President Uhuru Kenyatta said it, that you are not obligated; it is a choice,” said Shitakha.

“Telling me that I cannot go to a supermarket or a place because I am not vaccinated, is discrimination and against the constitution of this country.”

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