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Malindi to welcome tourists as Kenya off UK Red list

Charters will resume direct flights to Kenya ahead of the festive season in December.

In Summary

• With Kenya's removal from the UK Red list, visitors will not have to go into Covid-19 quarantine for 10 days on their return to the UK.

• A surge in UK tourists expected as charter flights can take off from Wednesday, September 22.e

Malindi residents sort trash collected by a machine and clean beaches along the Indian Ocean International Coastal Clean Day on Saturday, September 18.
CLEAN-UP: Malindi residents sort trash collected by a machine and clean beaches along the Indian Ocean International Coastal Clean Day on Saturday, September 18.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Kilifi residents and tourism stakeholders have praised the United Kingdom for removing Kenya from its Covid Red List, opening the way for a surge in holiday tourists.

Easy international travel will resume as travellers will no longer have to go into 10-day quarantine in the UK after they return from Kenya.

It will be officially removed on Wednesday, September 22 when charter flights can resume ahead of the festive season.

Kenya had been on the Red List of countries considered unsafe because of the Covid-19 pandemic but the situation has improved with a massive vaccination drive.

In Malindi, residents and tourism stakeholders cleaned up beaches on Saturday on the International Coastal Clean-Up Day.

Malindi and other Coast tourism destination have suffered greatly because of the absence of tourists.

Chairperson of the Coast Association of Women in Tourism Kate Mwikali said residents have been cleaning up the town and beaches every month to prepare for tourists.

"We are very happy to have been removed from the Red List because that restores travellers' confidence," she said.

Malindi residents and tourism stakeholders taking up in the International Coastal Clean-Up on Saturday, September 18.
CLEAN-UP: Malindi residents and tourism stakeholders taking up in the International Coastal Clean-Up on Saturday, September 18.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

Mwiklai also said the green light will also increase business for the aviation industry.

She is also chairperson of the Progress Welfare Association of Malindi.

Malindi already has been open for tourists for the last few months. Covid-19 protocols have been followed strictly to ensure guests' safety.

Removal from the Red List makes travel cheaper as returning travellers will not have to pay for mandatory quarantine.

She said Malindi has a certified marine park and Arabuku-Sukoke forest to attract tourists, in addition to its famous beaches.

"We are optimistic that domestic, regional and international tourism will be open. We hope many people will be vaccinated to reach the threshold of at least 80 percent," she said.

"Don't be shy about vaccination if you care about your community your children and your future. Get vaccinated, let's kick-start the economy," she said.

Judith Mwamidi, a director of Kilimandogo residence with more than 50 rooms in Malindi, said removal from the Red List will boost the tourism sector.

"Since corona came, the tourism sector has really gone down but now we're happy," she said.

Kilimandogo residence is ready for international visitors.

Last Week Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi and Kilifi North MP Owen Baya called on the national government to prioritise mass vaccination for those in the tourism industry.

Baya specifically said Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi and the Coast region at large overwhelmingly depend on  ourists and being on the Red List has caused many job losses.

Closure of tourist resorts has meant many people have no money to sustain their livelihood.

The international community only could direct tourists to Covid-19 safe zones.

"All staff of Moi International Airport in Mombasa must be vaccinated because all international tourists at the Coast pass through.

"All taxi drivers, tour coach drivers, beach operators and hotel workers must be given priority, as well as those in supermarkets," Baya said.

Student Elvis Shilaho from the Technical University of Kenya in Nairobi joined the Coast clean-up and said more tourists would be attracted.

Local tourist Ian Munyua said he was happy to be part of the clan-up to conserve the environment.

(Edited by V. Graham)