President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya is very satisfied with the measures taken by companies in the tourism sector against the coronavirus. According to Kenyatta, the safety and health of visitors is now sufficiently guaranteed, and the tourism sector in Kenya can slowly get back on its feet. The quarantine and visa rules for Kenya depend on the nationality of the traveller.
Kenya receives “Safer Tourism Seal”
The Ministry of Tourism in Kenya has announced that the country is one of the first in the world to be awarded the so-called “Safer Tourism Seal”. Minister Najib Balala received the award during an online conference on tourism. The seal is awarded by the "Rebuilding Travel" initiative, an organisation made up of tourism companies, tourism ministers, scientists and other relevant people in the travel industry. According to Balala, this award is proof that Kenya has done everything in its power to fight the coronavirus. Balala hopes that this independent award will encourage travellers to choose Kenya as their holiday destination.
Quarantine not always mandatory for trips to Kenya
President Kenyatta encourages foreign travellers to visit the country again. The costs of the many attractions Kenya has to offer are historically low, in an attempt to attract as many tourists as possible. This also affects the quarantine measures. Kenya has lifted the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine for 130 countries. This mainly concerns African countries (with the exception of Tanzania), but travellers from European countries such as the Netherlands, France and Germany are also no longer required to go into quarantine on arrival.
However, there are still a number of rules that tourists have to take into account. For example, travellers must have a certificate of a negative PCR test showing that they do not have Covid-19. This certificate must not be older than 96 hours. Travellers who show signs of illness must be quarantined, which they must pay for themselves. Tourists must also use protective equipment such as masks when going outside.
Travelling to Kenya: Getting a visa
Although the quarantine rules for travellers from many countries have been lifted, applying for a visa for Kenya remains mandatory. Visas are an important part of the country's tourism revenue, so it is no surprise that the visa system will remain in place. This means that foreign travellers need a visa to travel to Kenya. The advantage of Kenya's visa system is that it is largely digitised. Travellers from eligible countries can apply for the so-called e-visa, or electronic visa. Once granted, the visa is sent by e-mail and can be printed immediately. Both travellers from the UK and Ireland are eligible for the e-visa. The visa allows you to travel to Kenya once, for a maximum stay of 90 days. For all future visits to the country a new visa has to be applied for.
Safaris possible again
Kenya is mainly known as a safari destination. Travellers from all over the world travel to the country to spot “The Big Five”, the five most popular animals in Kenya; the lion, the elephant, the buffalo, the rhino and the leopard. It is therefore no surprise that tour operators organising safaris are very excited about the government's decision to relaunch tourism. They often take additional measures to ensure that tourists feel safer about booking a safari. For example, several tour operators have already announced that bookings that cannot go ahead because of Covid-19 will be fully reimbursed. According to Tourism Minister Najib Balala, the hotels in the Masai Mara, Kenya's most popular safari destination, are already almost fully booked. These are mainly reservations by domestic tourists, but Balala hopes that this will send a signal to foreign countries that the safaris are "open for business" again.