Vaccination of hotel staff, beach operators intensifies ahead of festive season
Stakeholders in the tourism industry in Kwale County have intensified vaccination against COVID-19 to the hospitality staff and beach operators as December and New Year festive season draws near.
This also comes at the backdrop of the Ministry of Health announcement that government services, hospitality and transport services will not be offered to individuals without a COVID-19 vaccine certificate by December 21st.
About 100 beach operators were on Wednesday vaccinated at the Diani Sea Resort area, with the stakeholders targeting to vaccinate operators along the larger Diani Beach stretch.
Hotel owners are preparing for the festivities where thousands of holidaymakers are expected to flock to the Coast region.
“We are vaccinating the beach operators because they are key stakeholders who interact with our guests. We also feel that it is important that they get vaccinated for their safety,” said Pauline Nduva, manager at Diani Sea Resort and also the Chairperson, Kenya Association of Women in Tourism - Kwale Chapter.
The beach operators include curio traders, those hiring out swimming costumes and water sports equipment, safari boat operators, divers, beach massage attendants and hawkers.
Nduva said that the tourism stakeholders were partnering with the Kwale County Public Health Department to have the vaccines administered down to the beach, making it accessible for operators.
She further noted that hoteliers are looking up to record bookings of over 80% bed occupancy during the festivities.
Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC) coast region chairman Herald Kampa said that the international market has started picking up after relaxation of most COVID-19 preventive measures.
“There are signs that international tourism is recovering, right now we have two charter flights from Germany every week,” he said.
Silas Kyalo, a curio seller at the Beach, said the jab was important to protect them as they interact with both international and domestic guests.
“These tourists are coming from all over the world and it is very difficult to tell if any one of them has the disease. Many of us had not been vaccinated because we found it hard accessing the health centres to queue up," he said.