MINIMAL MOVEMENT

Coronavirus hits Kenya's outbound travel bookings

Last month alone, bookings by Kenyans traveling to other regions dropped six per cent, with most travelers reconsidering non-essential global travel

In Summary

•This has largely impacted travel agents' earnings as they have had to re-route travel itineraries to alternative destinations

•This comes as majority of global event organisers have opted to cancel major global events across sectors including hospitality, design, sports, technology among others over rising concerns of the coronavirus disease

People wearing masks wait for the start of a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay in Hamura, outskirts of Tokyo, Japan on February 15, 2020
People wearing masks wait for the start of a rehearsal of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay in Hamura, outskirts of Tokyo, Japan on February 15, 2020
Image: /REUTERS

The number of Kenyans travelling abroad has dropped by 10 per cent since the outbreak of the Corona virus, according to travel agents.

Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), yesterday said outbound travel is falling and is expected to drop further as the disease spreads globally

Last month alone, bookings by Kenyans traveling to other regions dropped six per cent, with most travellers reconsidering non-essential global travel.

 

This has largely impacted travel agents' earnings as they have had to re-route travel itineraries to alternative destinations, re-book to alternative and in worst cases, canceling pre-booked travel arrangements. 

“The coronavirus has caused an unprecedented disruption in the aviation and travel industry, leading to the cancellation of flights and rescheduling of passenger travel in recent months’” KATA chairman Mohammed Wanyoike said.

This comes as majority of global event organisers cancel major events across sectors including hospitality, design, sports, technology among others to stem the spread of the disease.

For the first time in its 54-year history, the ITB Berlin trade show was canceled last week due to rapid spread of the virus.

“Our team deeply regrets the circumstances and looks forward to welcoming you next year at ITB Berlin, March 10-14, 2021,” the global trade exhibition’s organisers said in a tweet.

The F8 Facebook Developer Conference attracting over 5,000 delegates, which was to take place on May 5-6 in San Jose has also been abandoned

Even motorcycle event MotoGP has been canceled at the Grand Prix of Qatar.

 

Similarly, one of the world’s biggest car events Geneva Motor Show will also not take place anytime soon. 

Google has also canceled its annual I/O developers conference, planned for 12-14 May, due to concerns over the outbreak. The company says it is looking at other ways to connect with developers. 

“We have observed a cancellation of major conventions and events in major cities, leading to a major decline in passenger numbers and revenues for travel agents in Kenya,” Wanyoike said.

Travel restrictions to key markets for outbound travel has also had a hand in reducing bookings with markets such as China, South Korea, Iran, Saudia Arabia, and Italy largely affected.

On Tuesday, the government suspended flights from North Italy, specifically Verona and Milan, to the Kenyan Coast, following the global coronavirus outbreak.

 "Following Consultations with the Italian Embassy and Stake Holders, the National Emergency Response Committee on Corona Virus has concluded that flights from the North of Italy, specifically Verona and Milan which usually has direct chartered flights to our coast be suspended effective March 3rd, 2020," said Government Spokesman Crus Oguna 

 Wanyoike was however optimistic that travel across African states would remain stable with only three reported cases of coronavirus in the continent, Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria.

Going by its scientific name Covid-19, has killed more than 3,200 people so far with 94,200 cases reported globally.