Effective 1 July 2020, the tourism and travel industry in Kenya must comply with the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife's Magical Kenya Tourism and Travel, Health and Safety Protocols for the "New Normal" (the Protocols).
The Protocols provide health and safety requirements by which the tourism and travel industry should abide, as Kenya opens its borders to both local and international tourists from 15 July 2020 and 1 August 2020, respectively.
To achieve the above objective, the Protocols are guided by four pillars that will help the revival of the industry whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19: operational and staff preparedness; ensuring a safe experience; rebuilding trust and confidence; and implementing enabling policies and integrating innovation.
We summarise the key highlights of the Protocols, which contain both general and specific protocols below.
All tourism and hospitality establishments, facilities and enterprises must observe the general protocols for safety of their staff, clients and the public. The protocols apply at the workplace and any facility used for tourism business:
- all tourism establishments and facilities must:
- implement a Food Safety Management System;
- maintain 1.5-metre social distancing;
- have a valid, relevant Tourism Regulatory Authority licence, and health and county licences, and obtain certificate/permit or stickers signifying compliance with the provision of these Protocols to be considered for re-opening; and
- continuously monitor the tourism work environment and recommend necessary enactment or amendment of existing laws;
- work with county and national government to ensure safe inter-county and cross-border management in line with local and international protocols;
- employ a dedicated health, safety and hygiene officer/team who will be in charge of risk assessments and compliance with Ministry of Health and Labour directives, which includes (but is not limited to) enforcing the use of protective equipment, social distancing requirements and contact tracing;
- obtain, maintain and share (with the Ministry of Health, where applicable) visitor/guest declaration of travel history and medical status;
- share and sensitise health and safety guidelines to guests;
- provide staff and guests with protective equipment;
- provide and/or sensitise staff and guests with sanitation and hygiene practices;
- provide office staff with operation procedures that promote health and safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19;
- provide frontline staff with health and safety guidance and measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
- provide staff training on health and safety measures to prevent, manage and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The Protocols also have detailed specific requirements with which the below entities must comply:
- accommodation and catering (class A and class B) enterprises;
- entertainment, events, meetings, conferences and exhibitions;
- tours, travel agencies and adventure sports;
- professional safaris and services;
- tourist mobile service and transport providers;
- national parks/reserves, nature and amusement parks, conservancies;
- homestays, community/cultural villages and informal attractions sites; and
- shops/curios and general vendors (class E) enterprises.
Some of the specific protocols include: regularly sanitising and disinfecting the premises; having a valid COVID-19-free certification for core staff; using online booking systems and cashless payment modes to discourage physical contact; and implementing documented standard operating procedures for guest management.
Please click here for the full text of the Protocols.
The Protocols are an important step in guiding the industry and boosting confidence in Kenya as a tourist destination as the country counts down to re-opening its borders to international tourists.