Travel

Express Travel Group rebrands to Hemingways Travel

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Hemingways Group CEO Ross Evans (right), Tourism Cabinet Secretary Hon Najib Balala (centre) and Hemingways Travel MD Joseph Kithitu during the rebrand of Express Travel Group to Hemingways Travel on March 30, 2022, in Nairobi. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

Summary

  • Travel management company Express Travel Group (ETG) has rebranded to Hemingways Travel as it seeks to expand its offerings to the leisure market beyond corporate travel.
  • The 65-year-old luxury travel management company is a member of the Hemingways Hospitality group of companies. It was established in 1955.

Travel management company Express Travel Group (ETG) has rebranded to Hemingways Travel as it seeks to expand its offerings to the leisure market beyond corporate travel.

The 65-year-old luxury travel management company is a member of the Hemingways Hospitality group of companies. It was established in 1955.

Hemingways Group chief executive Ross Evans has said the rebrand was in response to emerging growth opportunities and the need to boost travellers’ experience amid unprecedented disruption caused by Covid-19 and the changing market needs.  

“We are now expanding our proposition to leisure travellers by offering a full suite of premium travel services and benefits, which has become more important as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We, however, remain focused on delivering to our corporate travel clients,”  he said. 

The company says it has appointed its former finance director Dr Joseph Kithitu as the new managing director for Hemingways Travel to steer the rebranded entity.

Speaking at the ceremony in Nairobi, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala asked players in the industry to be agile, dynamic and proactive by ‘‘going out of your comfort zone and creating new products.’’ 

CS Balala added that partnerships would ensure quick recovery of the sector. 

Government projections show that revenue from the sector will this year surpass pre-pandemic levels as the industry continues to recover from the devastation of the pandemic.  

Tourism was one of the heaviest hit industries in Kenya in 2020, generating only Sh88 billion in revenue. This was after major global airlines suspended flights and governments imposed restrictions on international travel to curtail the spread of the contagion. 

Government projections, however, show this year’s income from tourism will exceed the Sh157 billion earned in 2019 when the country hosted two million foreign visitors.

Last year, the country earned Sh136 billion from tourism against the backdrop of fewer foreign tourists.

Meanwhile, the CS also called on the industry to stop discriminating against travellers on the basis of nationality. 

‘‘There is a very narrow gap globally between domestic and foreign tourism. For our industry to flourish, it must be inclusive. We are now categorising our tourism as either high or low season rather than foreign and domestic,’’ he noted.

Hotels in Kenya, including boutique brands, whose business model was anchored on the international market have had to change tack in the last two years by offering lower rates to attract domestic travellers.

Tourism accounts for eight percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employing 990000 people. While the economy has been growing at an average rate of five percent in recent years, tourism has fared better to grow at an annual rate of eight percent.

The Annual Tourism Sector Performance Report of 2021 shows that innovation and digitisation have been key to the industry’s recovery as it responds to the market’s changing needs.

In the last two years, hotels in Kenya, including boutique brands, whose business model was anchored on the international market have had to change tack by offering lower rates to attract domestic travellers.

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