Shipping & Logistics

Hoteliers bank on online system to boost tourism

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Tourists from Poland who landed at the Moi International Airport present their covid 19 Certificate. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that Kenya has ordered 24 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca which will arrive in the country in the second week of February.
  • Hoteliers at the Coast want the state to priorities the industry players who deal directly with travellers.

Hoteliers have welcomed the collaboration between the Ministry of Health with Africa Centre for Disease Control and African Union in implementing online systems aimed at enhancing safety in travel and tourism industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Health and African Union with the technical support of panaBIOS are implementing “an online trustworthy and safe” systems for travellers across Africa through the deployment of technology called Trusted Travel (TT) to strengthen ability to verify, authenticate and validate test results and vaccination certificates for diseases of “international public health concern such as Covid-19”.

“The partnership will help in authenticating the certificates. We hope to realise post-Covid-19 protocols that will make it easy for visitors to travel globally without being subjected to different country standards,” said Dr Sam Ikwaye, a Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) official.

In a statement, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) advised passengers departing from Kenya to visit authorised laboratories to take Covid-19 RT PCR test and be issued with trusted travel code that can be verified by airlines and port health authorities. The passengers will thereafter receive a text message from panaBIOS in addition to an email from the testing laboratory with a link to guide the traveller to generate a travel code.

“This code will be crucial for the sector. We can now tell authentic certificates. This will boost both airline and tourism sectors,” said Dr Ikwaye.

KCAA said passengers departing from Kenya, with the exemption of domestic travellers, will be expected to have the TT code in their test result certificate if the destination and transit airports require PCR test.

“No passenger will depart from Kenya without verification of their certificate using the TT process as applicable,” said KCAA.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced that Kenya has ordered 24 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca which will arrive in the country in the second week of February.

Hoteliers at the Coast want the state to priorities the industry players who deal directly with travellers.

“Hotels receive visitors who have travelled from different places across the world and there is a lot of human interaction. As the government is planning vaccination they (tourism players), should also be factored in in the first round,” said Judy Kwamboka, General Manager Sunset Paradise Holiday Homes.

Dr Ikwaye is hopeful that the country will witness an increased number of international tourists owing to the coronavirus vaccine.

“We are frontline workers. At some point if it’s a global requirement we must comply with to guarantee safety of travellers,” said Dr Ikwaye.

Kenya Coast Tourism Association chief executive officer, Julius Owino, urged industry players to test all their staffs.

“It is advisable that people working in the sector be tested, but testing areas has a challenge due to breaking down of the machines. It is expensive to test them in private facilities,” Mr Owino said.