Tourism blow as UK tour firm cancels Kenya flights


Tourists at the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The United Kingdom’s largest tour operator has axed holiday flights to Kenya after Britain retained the country on its travel ban list amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Holiday company Tui Group said it had cancelled all holiday bookings to Kenya—a popular destination for British travellers --until September 4.

The Business Daily could not immediately establish the number and worth of bookings affected by the cancellation.

The decision deals a blow to the Kenyan hospitality industry which is currently on its main tourism season.

The local tourism season traditionally peaks from July to September, coinciding with the country’s dry season and the world-renowned migration of wildebeest and zebra through Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

The UK has been a top tourism source market for Kenya. In 2019, it emerged fourth in ranking, with tourist visits of 181,484.

At present, anyone other than children and those who have been double vaccinated must isolate for 10 days upon arriving back to the UK from an amber list country.

Travellers from Kenya remained banned to the UK in the latest update that took effect early August, coming days after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Britain.

Travellers arriving in the UK from countries on the ‘Red List’ will be denied entry while returning Britons must submit to 10 days of mandatory quarantine in hotels.

The UK updated and included Kenya among countries on it’s ‘Red List’ amid concerns about the spread of new Covid-19 variants that have now been reported in Kenya.

The US has similarly issued a fresh travel advisory against Kenya in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases, dealing a blow to the recovering tourism sector.