The hotel and tour industry is one of the worst-hit since the coronavirus disease was reported in the country, March 2020. Considering the sector is one of the major contributors to the country’s economy –generating 8.8 percent of the GDP –efforts have been laid to restore cash flow in the sector. Such exertions like the partnership between the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and Jambojet, which aims at promoting domestic tourism, can earn the country’s economy back to its roots.
Domestic tourism, which relates to activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment –but within their country of residence –for not more than one year for leisure, business, and other purposes, has become the new normal for the sector to embrace.
Since it accounts for over 70 percent of the travel and tourism sector in major economies globally, aviation stakeholders have all it takes to improve it, as most countries have not yet lifted travel bans, reducing the number of international tourists.
Jambojet and KTB aim at driving the conversation deeper in reviving the sector, which has seen the unemployment rate double to 10.4 percent, with an estimated 1.7 million Kenyans had lost their jobs since March 2020.
According to Jambojet Acting Managing Director Karanja Ndegwa, the carrier is set to continue offering local tourists low-cost travel to their destinations, adding that the deal with KTB involves branding one of Jambojet’s De Havilland Dash 8-400 aircraft for one year.
“Last year we launched the ‘Now Travel Ready’ campaign to encourage domestic tourism as part of Covid-19 recovery. We aimed at showcasing the new normal of travel —from the moment you leave your home, to when you get to the airport, your in-flight experience, arrival at your destination, the hotels you can stay at, and the measures in place, as well as the activities you can take part in,” said Mr. Ndegwa.
The campaign also includes a partnership with hotels across the regions the carrier flies to, and who are working in line with the safety protocols, to encourage travel in the new normal.
KTB Chief Executive Officer Betty Radier affirms the partnership lauding the local carrier for having contributed to the growth of tourism by enabling accessibility to tourism destinations in the country.
Radier notes that this partnership is among the many ventures the board has explored intending to grow the destination tourism offerings, following Oxford Economics and global Travel report (2020-2021), which showed that domestic and regional travel will dominate the tourism industry in 2021 compared to international tourism.
The country continues to fight the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic –with a week of vaccine arrival in the country and the emergence of the new wave of infections –international travel and tour continue to face restrictions which can take a better part of the year.
As of March 17, 2021, the country’s Covid-19 total caseload stood at 116,310, after the ministry of health recorded 1,297 new cases from a sample size of 7,450.