The Corona Virus that has so far claimed over 3, 300 lives and infected over 98, 000 others has caused an unprecedented disruption in the aviation and travel industry, The Kenya Association of Travel Agents Chairman Mr. Mohammed Wanyoike has said.
The virus, he said, has led to cancellation of flights and rescheduling of passenger travel in the recent months, therefore affecting business.
He was speaking during a press conference held at the KATA offices in Westlands on Wednesday where he pointed out that there has been a 6 percent decline in passenger bookings in February and 10 percent to date in March.
“We are expecting this number to continue to increase in the short term as travel restrictions come in to effect to key markets and destinations as witnessed to China, South Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Italy. Governments, corporates, NGO’s, traders and travellers in general are currently reconsidering non-essential travel globally, hence impacting the above inter-continental travel. Intra-Africa travel appears to remain stable. We anticipate the travel restrictions and advisories to be temporary measures to help contain the novel Covid-19,” he said.
He added, “We have also observed a cancellation of major conventions and events in major cities, leading to a major decline in passenger numbers and revenues for the Travel Agents in Kenya.”
He assured the public that the association will continue providing factual information and support to travellers as they keep monitoring the situation closely.
Travel agents, he further stated, are assessing the situation on a case by case basis and providing recommendations for either Re-routing the travel itinerary to an alternative destination or Re-booking to an alternative travel date. Travel Agents are also offering the option of cancellation of pre-booked travel arrangements.
KATA CEO Ms. Agnes Mucuha urged travellers to visit the KATA website for regular updates on the virus. “KATA has a close working relationship with airlines that ensures that we receive reliable, timely and factual information that is later disseminated to the traveller,” she said.
Mr Wanyoike further urged the public to ignore the numerous fake stories circulating on the social media platforms and instead engage directly with KATA certified travel agents for factual information and clarifications.