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Could Kenya’s Award of World’s First ‘Safer Tourism Seal’ Signal A Further Reopening?

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Kenya is the first country globally to be awarded the recommended status of the ‘Safer Tourism Seal’ by Rebuilding Travel, this is according to a statement from the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday August 26.

The statement revealed Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala was presented with the award in a virtual event attended by global tourism leaders under the Rebuilding Travel umbrella, a global pro-tourism industry group composed of members of tourism boards, ministers of tourism, professional associations, industry stakeholders, researchers and academics, as well as travellers.

CS Balala disclosed that the award is testimony to Kenya’s continued efforts to ensure travellers’ safety following the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Wildebeests crossing the Mara River. Source: File

“As a destination, we have put together health and safety measures that are aimed at ensuring the safe reopening of the tourism sector. This is to ensure that our citizens, travellers, and workers are well protected,” said the CS.

“On behalf of my country I am happy to receive this recognition that shows we are headed in the right direction in regard to the COVID-19 safety protocols.”

The ministry termed the Safer Travel Seal as a recognizable symbol world over that will be key in positioning Kenya as a safe and preferred destination, further that it will be crucial in building travellers’ confidence in the destination as international travel resumes and hospitality outlets reopen.

“The Kenyan Ministry of tourism has indicated that it is taking proactive measures to assure visitors of the safest tourism experience possible. The Ministry well understands that no one can assure 100% safety and security and that no one shall fall ill. What it can do is provide the best tourism surety measures possible,” reads a statement on the Safe Travels website.

Among the measures taken by the government include the creation and updating of its health and surety protocols on a timely and regional basis, following international social distancing guidelines both for staff and visitors, recommending the wearing of masks as well as paying special attention to transportation hubs such as airport terminals.

A British Airways plane at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday August 2. Source: Twitter

On July 1, Kenya was among the top destinations in Africa to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recognition.

The country was awarded the Safe Travel Stamp in recognition of the country’s adoption of the global health and hygiene standardized protocols dubbed ‘Safe Travels’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stamp allowed travellers to recognise Kenya as a safe destination when global travel resumed.

The award comes as calls grow louder from the public to have President Uhuru Kenyatta lift the remaining COVID-19 restrictions in his 11th presidential address this afternoon.

Rapper Khaligraph Jones on Sunday August 23 pleaded with President Uhuru Kenyatta to reopen clubs and restaurants so artistes can start earning again.

Tagging the President’s official Instagram page in his plea, Khaligraph revealed that youths are suffering from depression.

According to the rapper, this has heavily impacted artistes’ income, given most rely on performances to survive.

“Kindly on behalf of the creative industry of Kenya, we are requesting you allow us to get back to work, allow for the reopening of clubs and restaurants, measures and precautions shall be taken to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t spread further,” he wrote.

“The youth are suffering from depression in silence. Kindly look into this matter. Also, some of our hits songs are going to waste. People want to see Femi One and Mejja perform ‘Utawezana’.”

Rapper Khaligraph Jones at a past event. Source: The Star

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