ENTHUSIASM

Hoteliers hopeful as British Airways resumes Nairobi-London operations

This comes after UK government announced removal of Kenya from its red list

In Summary

• Industry players in the hospitality and tourism sectors have expressed enthusiasm of an early return of businesses especially from Europe. 

• Government efforts in scaling up its vaccination drive to inoculate at least 70 per cent of its population by the end of the year, will also help to facilitate cross-border travel and enable the recovery of the sector.

British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London, Britain May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London, Britain May 27, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

The hospitality sector in Nairobi is ready for takeoff in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) business following the resumption of British Airways Nairobi – London operations.

This comes after the UK government announced the removal of Kenya from its red list from September 22, 2021.

Industry players in the hospitality and tourism sectors have expressed enthusiasm for an early return of businesses, especially from Europe to the pre-Covid-19 period attributing it to the government’s effort in rolling out the vaccination programme.

Reacting to the development, operators in the MICE business described the gesture as a good beginning as part of the post-Covid-19 ease of travel.

PrideInn Hotels Sales and Marketing Director Farzana Zahir said that this is a sign of good things to come.

A general view of the Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa.
A general view of the Pride Inn Hotel in Mombasa.
Image: FILE

"Now we can have international arrivals both for business and leisure back into our economy. With the resumption of British Airways and the removal of Kenya from the UK’s red list, even hotel owners and other hospitality businesses will begin to see increase revenue after months of travel restriction,” Zahir said.

Lamenting the effects of the pandemic on the sector, Farzana said the emergencies caused by the outbreak of the pandemic led to the postponement and cancellations of major tour and conference packages, in some instances, for international tourists due to the restrictions and the closure of the nation’s international airports and others globally.

“Now we can begin to enjoy and welcome business travellers as well. The sector should be up and running with time.

"All the talks over the past few months on various webinars and zoom conferences may eventually allow people to come out and do what we love to do best; showcasing the beauty of our country to both the domestic and business travellers,” she said.

The rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine on the other hand is poised to stimulate MICE industry’s long-term revival in Nairobi. 

Government efforts in scaling up its vaccination drive to inoculate at least 70 per cent of its population by the end of the year will also help to facilitate cross-border travel and enable the recovery of the sector.

PrideInn Azure Nairobi General Manager, Aditya Mata, pointed out that though people are still sceptical about travelling, those that will travel will still do so with caution.

"We expect the MICE tourism sector in Nairobi to expand by at least 4 per cent by the end of 2021, assuming Covod-19 vaccine rollout becomes widespread throughout the year. 

"We appreciate government’s measures put in place to ensure that the pandemic is kept at a considerable low level to hasten business recovery," Mata said.

Edited by D Tarus