The government has lifted landing fees charged to airlines as part of incentives to support the industry’s turnaround as it emerges from depths of COVID-19 shocks.
The waiver on the fees has been disclosed in a Tourism Ministry report titled- Magical Kenya Tourism and Travel Health and Safety Protocols for the ‘New Normal’.
Further to the relief on landing fees, the government says it will provide financial relief to the sector by way of tax exemptions and refurbishment funds from tourism facilities and other establishments.
The cushion is flanked by health and safety protocols developed by the National Tourism and Hospitality Taskforce established through a May 29 gazette notice which included airline representatives and hoteliers.
“Kenya’s tourism sector has developed tourism and hospitality protocols on health and safety to mitigate the effects of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease in business and people’s livelihoods. Actors in the tourism sector have, therefore, through the adoption of these protocols, taken the responsibility of ensuring that destination Kenya is safe for tourism business,” noted Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.
The developed protocols are expected to inculcate institutional operational and staff preparedness to ensure service provision meets the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and the Ministry of Health (MOH) measures.
The principles of the protocols include the protecting people’s lives and livelihoods, gaining investor and visitor confidence in the country and the adoption of technologies in tourism and hospitality operations,
Further, operations in the sector will be restructured to conform to the new normal and will involve collaboration between the public and private sector.
Social distancing measures are expected to be observed at all times including the slashing of carrying capacities on both flights and inside tourism service vehicles (TSVs).
Airline passengers are expected to make advanced booking ahead of travel and must declare their medical status.
Moreover, all industry front-liner staff are expected to hold COVID-19 free certification for a period not lapsing 14 days.
Other measures will see facilities appoint a health officer to observe the implementation of mitigation strategies which also include constant disinfection of work areas and staff training.
The waiver on landing fees is expected to yield in significant savings in the millions for airlines whose cash-flows have sublimated under the current total ban on passenger flights.
The new industry policies are expected to be aligned to the National COVID-19 policy.