By Ebi Kesiena
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, has assured tourists that Kenya and other African countries branded as travel risks, are actually travel safe, adding that he regrets that Kenya has been placed on travel advisories.
According to Balala, Nairobi has better virus statistics than countries that advised travelers about going to the East African nation. He stated that Kenya’s tourism industry is improving as a new coronavirus normal sets in.
Balala added that some of the travel advisories are not helping, some of them are political, while some of them are not genuine, as he called for a need to find alternative ways of resolving these travel advisories.
“Travel advisories have affected travel movement across the world, most of the countries that have been branded as travel risk are not travel risk, they are travel safe.
“This traffic light regime that has been introduced by the UK of red, amber and green, this is actually not helping, we want the quarantine issues to be relaxed. The numbers in Africa and particularly in Kenya are much less than some of these countries, so we can see the double standards. It’s affecting our economy because we depend on this source market,” he said.
Balala said in 2019, Kenya had more than 2 million tourists, a number which was reduced by 80% due to the pandemic.
“As we are opening up now, we have seen a 40% increase. I am optimistic in December, which is a high season, up to March, we will be able to see a bigger number coming into the country, although tourist arrivals in Kenya in 2021 are still below 1 million as countries that are country’s source market have not opened up for their citizens to travel.
“To help make up some of the lost revenue, Kenya started virtual tours on social media digital platforms to market to clientele. A live TikTok video showing the wildebeest migration inside the Maasai Mara game reserve saw more than 200 million people view the event from their electronic devices across the world,” he added.