Vaccinations continue for Kenyan hospitality front-line workers

The country now expects to receive two chartered flights from Ukraine every month following a signed pact between the County Government of Mombasa and the European country.

By: Yvonne Atieno  @MountKenyaTimes

The government through the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife has continued vaccinating frontline personnel in the Tourism and Hospitality sector.

So far, more than one thousand frontline workers in the sector have been vaccinated in the first week of the ongoing drive to protect personnel in the sector.

Tourism and Wildlife CS, Najib Balala in partnership with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC), Kenya Association of Tour Operators (KATO), Pubs and Restaurants Association (PERAK), among other stakeholders in the sector launched the exercise a week ago at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre.

Balala said the COVID-19 vaccination exercise that targets 5000 frontline workers in the first phase targeting Nairobi County is an important tool in curbing the effects of the pandemic, which will eventually help tourism rise again.

“The vaccination drive will begin in Nairobi for the next 10 days, we will then move to the other 4 counties within the one zone area, and eventually vaccinate all the Hospitality and Tourism frontliners in all our counties, in Kenya,” he said on Wednesday, April 21.

Yesterday, Tourism PS Safina Kwekwe Tsungu termed the exercise as a major step towards instilling confidence about hospitality services among both domestic and international clients.

“This is to assure both our domestic and local travelers that we are ready for them and we are taking all measures to ensure that the destination is safe for them”, reassures the PS who made the remarks during the inspection of the ongoing exercise at KICC.

Kwekwe said by end of the week, about 2000 hospitality workers will have been vaccinated.

These workers are from tourism umbrella associations which have been helpful on the crucial exercise.

“Every day before we retire, we get a list of members coming on the next day to avoid confusion and crowds at the site. Today we will be attending to members from the tour guide association and the hotels,” She said.

The PS added that the Ministry will be scaling up the exercise to other counties in the second phase of the vaccination exercise as a way of reaching out to other hospitality facilities away from Nairobi.

Kwekwe noted tourism sector is a person-to-person trade where workers by the nature of their work are exposed because they interact with clients physically thus the need for vaccination.

“we made a case for the industry to be considered as frontline workers, as such we have had to focus on workers in restaurants, entertainment and the tour guides because these are people who interact personally with their clients” added PS Tsungu.

Tourism destinations are banking on vaccination to drive confidence for travellers across the world. The tourism industry has been one of the most hit industries across the globe with travel restrictions imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus.

East Africa Tour Guide association group CEO Kennedy Kaunda who led about 200 tour guides for the vaccination exercise said that the program would help to send a message that Kenya was ready to receive both domestic and International Tourists.

“This is a timely exercise because vaccination of frontline workers means that even the visitors will also be confident of their safety while in Kenya, tour guides interact with visitors from entry to exit, he said.

Tour Driver Guides Association (KTDGA) brings together tour guides operating in the country with an aim of empowering and building capacity to a professional status.

Second Ukrainian charter flight lands Kenya

The return of charter flights to Kenya continues to signal a slow and steady recovery for the tourism sector which has been clobbered by COVID-19 pandemic.

The country now expects to receive two chartered flights from Ukraine every month following a signed pact between the County Government of Mombasa and the European country.

On Tuesday, Mombasa City received the second chartered flight from Ukraine that landed at the Moi International Airport with 180 tourists.

Ukraine remains potential key sources market with close to 3 million Ukrainians travelling abroad annually, a factor which the agreement seeks to exploit under the sister city pact.

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