Travel agency to State: Support us from business dry spell

98 per cent of KATA's membership base are SMEs.

In Summary

•KATA represents over 200 travel agency businesses with a workforce of 15,000 Kenyans. 98 per cent of KATA's membership base are SMEs.

•"We urge the government to particularly pay attention to the vulnerable travel industry in the recovery phase, to not only save small businesses but to save jobs as well," Wanyoike said. 

A section of travellers stranded .
Image: MAGATI OBEBO

Kenya Association of Travel Agents has asked the government to support them financially as they witness business dry spell.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement in five counties; Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Machakos and Nakuru, terming the areas as a fast-spreading virus zone.

In a statement on Wednesday, KATA chairman Mohammed Wanyoike called on policy makers to continue discussions and agree on coordinated measures that are necessary for the successful start of travel.

KATA represents over 200 travel agency businesses with a workforce of 15,000 Kenyans. 98 per cent of KATA's membership base are SMEs.

"We urge the government to particularly pay attention to the vulnerable travel industry in the recovery phase, to not only save small businesses but to save jobs as well," Wanyoike said. 

KATA on behalf of her members is seeking interventions from institutions like the Kenya Bankers Association and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to issue guidance to banks to offer moratoriums on bank loan interests owed by travel agents.

Wanyoike said this will give travel agents the much-needed cushioning from large scale loan defaults, negative credit rating and risk profiling, even as they strategize on new ways to balance off their books.

"Travellers are looking for a clear signal when they can travel safely again. And the travel industry needs to have a perspective to be able to start up business again," he said.

KATA joins the many calls of different stakeholders that Kenya needs to act in the interest of all industry players when it comes to travel restrictions.

"We need a framework of coordination of travel restrictions that will not kill the travel businesses in Kenya; which includes a common criterion that seeks to facilitate continued travel rather than impede it," he said.

"The Kenyan government should consider the longer-term implications of the crisis, and focus on helping the travel industry become more sustainable and resilient."

Wanyoike urged the Government to exercise its moral responsibility and reassess the situation in assisting and providing all the support they can for the travel sector.