Tourism stakeholders at the south coast have lauded the decision by the UK government to remove Kenya from the Red List.
The decision had restricted the travel of citizens of both countries.
In April, Kenya was included in the UK Red List as among the countries considered either risky for having high cases of Covid-19 or poor surveillance of cases to prevent infection.
Other countries removed from the Red List are Egypt, Maldives, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
However, on Friday last week, the UK moved Kenya and seven other countries from its Red List to the Amber List, which has now eased the travel restrictions.
The decision, which takes effect starting today (Wednesday) at 4 am, has been received positively by hotel owners at the south coast.
Under their banner, Diani Hospitality Owners Association, the stakeholders said they are now optimistic that business will now pick up again.
Bobby Kamani, the vice-chair of the Diani Hospitality Owners Association, said the announcement has come at the right time.
According to Kamani, the removal of Kenya from the UK Red List, coupled with the announcement by KLM Royal Dutch Airline to start direct flights to Mombasa, is a boom for the hotel industry at the Kenyan coast.
KLM, the flag carrier of the Netherlands, is set to launch two weekly direct flights between Amsterdam into Mombasa beginning October 31 this year.
“We are now optimistic that in the last quarter of 2021, we will have good business after the two announcements,” said Kamani.
For the past five months, the Kenyan coast has been heavily dependent on the Eastern Europe market, the regional tourists, local travellers and conferences to stay afloat.
“Britain has been our traditional and significant source market for decades and the travel ban no doubt affected our businesses,” he said.
At Diani Reef Beach Resort, all the 220 staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19, said Kamani, who is also the managing director of the facility.
“Having all our staff vaccinated gives more confidence to our guests. They are sure that they are served by staff who are safe,” he said.
Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa was voted the best beach resort in Africa with the idyllic Diani Beach being recognized for seven years in a row as Africa’s best beach destination.