08-07-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
There are still many unknowns to be resolved regarding the reopening of tourism in Kenya.
In the aftermath of President Kenyatta's official speech to the nation, in which he announced the cessation of movements in the counties that were still in lockdown (Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera) and the resumption of domestic flights on July 15 and international flights on August 1.
The first knot to be untied concerns the quarantine regime that anyone entering Kenya for now must respect for 14 days, even if they present themselves with a Covid-19 Free certificate.
Today a return flight departs from Paris for Kenyan citizens and foreign residents with destination Nairobi and this is still the rule, despite the Government's openness to the economy and, in a week, to national tourism.
It is essential as soon as possible to have explanations about this.
The possible scenarios foresee at least four solutions: Total removal of quarantine for tourists, removal of quarantine and entry with Covid-19 Free for those who stay up to 15 days. Quarantine at the residence communicated for those who stay beyond or quarantine in government facilities for all.
According to the decision taken (as soon as possible) those who want to come to Kenya or return as soon as possible, will be able to organize themselves in the best possible way, given the fact that traditional tourism, tour operators and resorts with "package holidays" will be stopped at least until the end of September, also because of the non resumption of charter flights. Neos would have announced that he will fly back to Mombasa on October 6th, if all goes well.
The climate of international uncertainty does not allow airlines to make medium-long term plans. Turkish Airlines, for example, after announcing the resumption of operations, closed last week again to the possibility of flying to Africa, and two days ago also the connection from Italy.
Italy, however, has not yet lifted the quarantine for those returning from countries outside the European Union, although it should do so from next July 14.
Governments are also victims of the pandemic in terms of sudden changes of route: countries like South Africa are suspended between reopenings and new lockdowns, Australia has announced flights and freedom, except to arm themselves again, and Kenya is certainly not the only country poised between defending its economy and safeguarding the health of its citizens, even if it is one of the most linked to the World Health Organization.
Also from this point of view we can read yesterday's statement by the Kenyan Health Minister Kagwe (of which we report extensively in the other article of the day) which announces possible sudden closures in case the Covid-19 curve rises dizzyingly after the reopening of the country.
As far as local tourism is concerned: how many Nairobians will agree to move to coastal regions knowing that they will miss one of the attractions of the holiday, namely bars and nightclubs?
Always hoping that the official announcement of the reopening of the beaches, which is rumored to be soon, could be restored in line with the flights that will take tourists to Malindi, Mombasa and Diani. But in fact you can already get to the coast, wouldn't it be more consistent to reopen immediately? We hope to have answers to some of these questions as soon as possible, even if the situation in progress and the changing scenarios in many countries does not help.
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