Quarantine rules stifle return to global travel
Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 01:21 | 3 mins read
Peter Leshan and Steve Umidha
Retention of quarantine rules for international passengers continues to dampen the return of global travel even as the world moves closer to managing the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, according to tourism sector players.
The national traveller readiness survey since the start of the global pandemic, has indicated that rebuilding travellers confidence is key to restarting travel and rebuilding the aviation industry.
Commissioned by the National Tourism Crisis Steering Committee, and Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), it shows that about 76 per cent of Kenyans interviewed identified retention of quarantine requirements for passengers as their greatest concern when planning foreign travels.
The report released last week further showed that 57 per cent feared being quarantined upon return home.
The survey compiled travellers responses data from over 200 KATA Certified travel agents in the country to gather insights on the travel habits of travellers and how travel has been impacted by Covid-19 as well as predictions for how those habits will change after the pandemic is over.
Speaking during the unveiling of report dubbed Travellers Readiness to Travel Post Covid-19, Agnes Mucuha, the Chief Executive of KATA said rebuilding traveller confidence is key in restarting travel and rebuilding the aviation industry as a whole.
“Adopting the right technology will help make that a reality and it is a step in the right direction for travel industry decision makers,”she said.
She added: "With safety becoming even more important to today’s travellers, there is a clear need for travel agents and the aviation sector players to differentiate themselves in order to encourage travellers back onto travelling.”
The findings revealed that business travel has experienced a fundamental change with over 80 per cent of the respondents think that between 50 and 75 per cent of their business will be replaced by online meetings moving forward.
Another three per cent think that all their business-related trips will be replaced by online meetings.
Quarantine as a travel concern trounced the fear of contracting Covid-19 at 61 per cent ahead of increased logistics at destinations and physical discomfort at 52 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.
Nevertheless, Kenyans expressed their willingness and readiness to start travelling again against headwinds caused by the evolving pandemic.
Sixty-four per cent of respondents indicated they were ready to travel again domestically while the demand for regional and international travel was more subdued with only 34 and 25 per cent of respondents expressing readiness to travel to the destinations.
Forty seven per cent of respondents were confident to visit tourist attractions, while 44 per cent were confident to visit accommodation facilities.
Another 42 per cent of respondents confident to visit Airport Area, 38 per cent of respondents confident to engage in Tourist Activities and 33 per cent of respondents confident on the use of ground transport.
The survey findings shows that for the industry to recover, travellers will need to feel safe and confident that their health is protected. People are clearly concerned about Covid when traveling.
Esther Munyiri, Director Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) said travel agents can ensure they build a sense of safety and confidence by helping travellers understand the Covid-19 protocols of both the source country and the destination country.
She said while traveller confidence has significantly been impacted by the pandemic, many have felt that travel agents, who are key to restarting travel, are stepping up to address the challenges hence helping travellers feel safer, efforts which continue to rebuild traveller confidence.
KATA has also been studying safety and health measures that impact traveller confidence and has found that technologies and solutions that minimise touchpoints and create a more contactless passenger journey, will go further to boost confidence in travellers.