KATA and TAAZ Set to Transform Travel

The Chairperson of TAAZ, Hamida Malik, paid a courtesy visit to KATA offices for a follow up meeting, setting the stage for a new chapter in travel collaboration. Joined by KATA’s Vice-Chairman, Mr. Hamisi Hassan, and the CEO, Agnes Mucuha, this meeting was more than a mere meeting – it was a catalyst for transformation.

Forging a Bridge Beyond Boundaries

The discussions that unfolded encapsulated the essence of unity and shared aspirations. With a shared goal to enhance travel experiences, the collaboration between KATA and TAAZ is poised to traverse beyond geographical borders. The vision is clear: to offer travelers unprecedented access to the hidden gems of Zambia, a land brimming with cultural richness and awe-inspiring landscapes.

This collaboration serves as a natural extension of KATA’s earlier dialogue with Zambia’s Minister for Tourism, further solidifying the commitment to unlocking the immense potential of cross-border travel.

This partnership promises to transform these visions into tangible, unforgettable realities. Underlying this collaboration is a profound synergy between KATA and TAAZ – an alliance that speaks of shared values, mutual respect, and a relentless passion for redefining the travel landscape.

Keep the wanderlust alive and let’s journey together toward boundless horizons. #KATAxTAAZ #KATACollaborations #KATACaters

Hotels lose their competitive edge amid the rise of Airbnbs

The exponential growth of Airbnb in major towns around the country is shaking up the Kenyan hospitality industry as it devours a share of traditional hotels’ revenues.

The proliferation of the service has also seen a significant drop in room prices and occupancy rates, a spot check by Weekend in Business shows.

Over the past 10 years, Airbnb has grown into the world’s largest online marketplace for accommodation and now qualifies as a disruptive innovation.

And just as in the rest of the world, the hospitality industry in Kenya is slowly experiencing a shift as hotels and lodgings lose out to the rising popularity of Airbnb services.

A spot check shows that more landlords who own holiday homes within Nairobi, Kisumu, Nakuru, Naivasha, Mombasa, Nyeri, and Nanyuki towns, among others, have turned to the Airbnb platform and are reaping huge returns.

Since its launch in 2008, Airbnb has become popular among travellers seeking affordable accommodation, convenient location and household amenities.

In Nyeri County, for instance, iconic hotels including the Outspan, The White Rhino, Treetops and the Greenhill Hotel, which offer traditional accommodation, are on the verge of closing down as Airbnbs eat into their market share.

According to the Nyeri-based owner of Hampton’s Apartment, Linet Murage, holiday homes have become popular, threatening the existence of traditional hotels.

She says Airbnbs have an edge over these hotels in that prices are negotiable, allowing clients to stay for extended periods. “I decided to venture into the Airbnb business after noting that holiday homes were in high demand in Nyeri,” says Ms Murage.

She ventured into the business in 2021 by converting her house into a holiday home to compete with surrounding hotels.

“It was not an easy road. In 2019, I was a casual labourer but started saving from the little I earned. I invested the savings in furnishing and decorating my house. After the pandemic, I discovered that those looking for accommodation had started shifting to other towns, where there were holiday homes,” says Ms Murage.

She later rented the house next door after her neighbour moved out and converted it into an Airbnb too. Studies show the Airbnb business model has flourished for many reasons.

Customers like having access to an enormous supply of properties and rooms at a wide variety of prices, often more competitive than hotels, and Airbnb collects commissions on every booking.

In addition, players say, the company does not follow conventional rules. “Airbnb does not ensure the security of guests, it’s not taxed in some jurisdictions, and it has the flexibility to add new supply because of a lack of regulation,” says one study into the business model.

This has benefitted entrepreneurs like Ms Murage, who is capitalising on the boom.

The beauty of the Airbnb concept is that one does not have to legally own the building, with many operators hiring out rented space, which they furnish to meet the required standards.

And with guests increasingly opting to stay in Airbnb accommodations, competition between traditional hotels and Airbnb is boiling over.

“The industry has become very competitive. To offer the best customer service, I offer breakfast, laundry, toiletries and a chef on request. If a client gets the best service, they will refer you to other clients. I only charge Sh3,000 per night and allow only two visitors in one room,” she says.

Cause disruption

Ms Murage sees holiday homes as the future of accommodation and dreams of expanding her business.

And she has every reason to be optimistic. A recent study showed that the rise in popularity of Airbnb was always going to cause disruption to the established Kenyan hotel industry, much in the same way that Uber upset traditional cab companies.

This disruption can be understood as part of a wider move towards disruptive technologies and online community marketplaces, experts say.

The desire for homeowners to earn an income by sharing their homes has unlocked a hitherto underutilised asset through the Airbnb platform.

“Many hotels offer very poor services, while an Airbnb offers clients a totally different experience. Home sharing platforms are likely to gain more ground over time as travellers become increasingly aware of their benefits,” says Ms Murage.

She added that landlords who own holiday homes are ready to comply with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and ensure their businesses are registered.

“People are embracing Airbnb. It is a good business to venture into, let all those willing to join get their business registered to avoid giving room to conmen,” she said.

James Mwangi, a lodging owner in Nyeri, said since the launch of Airbnb in the town, his business has taken a considerable hit. “We used to get many clients, but they now prefer to book Airbnbs located outside the town for a quiet night’s rest, leaving our rooms empty,” says Mr Mwangi.

He now plans to convert his rooms into Airbnbs to stay in business. One of the more obvious ways hotels have been responding to the competitive threat of Airbnb has been via their pricing strategies.

While it’s not ideal, it’s still preferable for a hotel to have some minimal level of occupancy rates at discounted prices compared to managing an empty hotel.

Hotels are also listing themselves on the Airbnb platforms to tap short-term clients.

They are also leveraging amenities like swimming pools, steam rooms, gyms, ample parking and adequate security, which Airbnbs lack, to counter the new wave of competition from the platform.

Source: Zurulink

Aviation Professionals Convene in Kenya to Improve African Airlines’ Security, Safety

Aviation experts are meeting in Kenya this week to examine methods to improve security and safety for Africa’s airlines and airports.

Beyond those topics, the eighth meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will also involve discussions on air transport facilitation and sustainability in Africa.

The principal secretary for Kenya’s department of transport, Mohamed Daghar, told the conference that Kenyan airports now have technology for security measures that make travel for passengers both safe and smooth.

“We now have in place the prerequisite infrastructure and capabilities to fully participate in ICAO’s public key directory, the advanced passenger information and the passenger name record,” Daghar said. “This will see Kenya join the global community in making the passenger journey seamless.”

ICAO President Salvatore Sciacchitano said Africa must prepare for increased air traffic in the coming months, hence the need to improve the safety of airports and passengers.

“It’s important to acknowledge that states are more prosperous when they are better connected and that nothing can connect Africa as efficiently and as reliably as air transport,” Sciacchitano said.

He added that the industry is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic but that global traffic is expected to reach 2019 levels by the end of the year.

“The prospect for Africa in this respect is remarkable,” Sciacchitano said.

Africa’s air transport sector was hit hard by the global pandemic, which led to lockdowns and countries issuing strict health measures to combat the infection. Aviation experts say the measures taken to subdue COVID-19 have made it difficult for the airlines and people to move freely, leading to a loss of income.

Even as air traffic picks up, experts say security risks have evolved, and now airlines face threats from insiders, terrorism, human trafficking, inadequately documented passengers and contraband smuggling.

The Transportation Security Administration, a U.S. government agency, invested in Kenya’s international airport to improve security and train staff, increasing the effectiveness of passenger screenings.

The agency’s administrator, David Pekoske, told the aviation conference to work together to deal with security threats.

“Over the next few days, I encourage all of us to not only listen to the best practices and effectiveness that can be sustained but ultimately to collaborate on enhancing the effectiveness of the global civil aviation system,” Pekoske said. “Success’s mission is directly dependent on the cooperation between a myriad of partners. I believe it’s people, partnership and technology that make a difference.”

More than 300 delegates from international and African civil aviation agencies are attending the conference in Nairobi, which ends Friday.

Source: VOA

Forum on tourism, creatives, cultural industries to launch at ATLF 2023 in Gaborone

The emergence of creative tourism reflects the growing integration between tourism and different place making strategies, including the promotion of the creative industries.

It is against this background that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is partnering with Africa Tourism Partners (ATP) to host the inaugural forum on tourism, creatives, and cultural industries.

The launch of the forum will take place during the Africa Tourism Leadership Forum & Awards (ATLF) scheduled for October 4-6, 2023, at the Gaborone International Conference Centre, Botswana.

Following the development, Botswana is gearing up for the hosting of the inaugural AfCFTA Forum on Tourism, Creatives, and Cultural Industries.

The forum seeks to involve key Pan-African and intra-Africa travel and tourism stakeholders and related sectors to harness the value of the continent’s creative and cultural assets in order to stimulate demand for intra-Africa travel. It will also highlight and harness emerging trade opportunities with regards to intra-Africa travel and tourism investments sectors, and will be used to launch the newly established Africa Tourism Private Sector Alliance (ATPSA), an apex body for Africa travel and tourism private sector.

Moreover, the objective of the forum is to use the body to leverage the opportunities under the AfCFTA. Themed, “Shifting demand dynamics to shape the future of intra-Africa Travel”, the 2023 ATLF & Awards will present distinct networking avenues, business opportunities and learning programmes relating to intra-Africa travel, franchising, creative industries and culture, tourism investment, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), digitalisation and more. The forum discussions will be led by renowned global experts, ministers, CEOs, business executives, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers, practitioners and DMCs.

As well, hotels, lodges, guest houses, B&Bs, DMCs, restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, online travel agents, marketing agencies, NTOs, DMOs, associations, women associations, youth association, entrepreneurs and all key industry stakeholders are set to benefit from high level B2B sessions, tourism entrepreneurship masterclass, intra-Africa travel & tourism roadshow & exhibition starting on October 3, 2023. The ATLF & Awards 2023 will also feature destination showcase & presentations from all participating Africa member states as a way of promoting destinations to a wide spectrum of global participants.

Excited to host the 6th annual ATLF, Botswana has expressed its readiness to enthral the over 500 physical delegates, including the media and hosted buyers from across the globe at the Gaborone International Convention Centre, Grand Palm, Gaborone, the country’s capita; city and across other attractions.

The ATP is a UNWTO-affiliated award-winning Pan-African tourism development and strategic destination marketing advisory firm. The firm specializes in tourism and MICE strategy formulation, investment facilitation and promotion, research, master planning and destination market development and capacity building across Africa’s travel, tourism, hospitality, aviation and golf sub-industries.

On the other hand, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a free trade area encompassing most of Africa. It was established in 2018 by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which has 43 parties and another 11 signatories, making it the largest free-trade area by number of member states, after the World Trade Organization, and the largest in population and geographic size, spanning 1.3 billion people across the world’s second largest continent.

Source:   Business Day

Dubai’s national carrier benefits from city’s tourism boom

Dubai’s Emirates reported a record-breaking summer season, carrying over 14 million passengers with seat load factors exceeding 80 percent between June and August.

In addition, over 35 percent of visitors travelling on Emirates to Dubai were families, with an average stay of over two weeks to explore the city’s attractions.

Come winter, Emirates expects another surge in demand for travel to the city.

“Travel demand across our network has been strong and resilient despite rising cost-of-living pressures in many markets. It shows the value that people place on travel – whether for work, play, study, or visiting loved ones; and how essential international air connectivity is to communities,” Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, Adnan Kazim said.

For the city’s airport, Dubai International Airport (DXB) has demonstrated resurgence in key performance indicators, surpassing the pre-pandemic benchmarks of the first half of 2019. As one of the world’s busiest international aviation hubs, DXB welcomed a 41.6 million passengers during the initial six months of 2023. This figure reflects a growth of over 100 percent in comparison to the passenger volume recorded in H1 2019. Furthermore, when compared with the same period in 2022 (27.9 million), passenger traffic witnessed a significant surge of 49.1 percent.

Source: Hotelier

President Ruto Says Investment in Cultural Tourism Will Expand Economic Opportunities

The Government is keen on promoting cultural tourism to generate more tourism revenues.

President William Ruto said the Government will exploit Kenya’s rich cultural heritage to diversify tourist attractions.

He argued that tourism is no longer just about sights and sounds but also about the people.

He noted that the Government will partner with Counties to support cultural preservation initiatives.

He cited the provision of funds for Maa Cultural Festival that will be celebrated annually.

“Today’s tourist is drawn to authentic cultural experiences; therefore, today’s tourism must meet a higher standard,” he said.

He made the remarks on Tuesday during the Maasai Cultural Festival at Sekenanie Gate, Narok County.

He was accompanied by Cabinet Secretaries Peninah Malonza (Tourism) and Soipan Tuya (Environment), Governors Patrick ole Ntutu (Narok), Joseph Lenku (Kajiado) and Jonathan Lati Leliliit (Samburu) and a host MPs.

He noted that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has identified induction of boys ahead of initiation, shaving of morans and meat-eating ceremony that marks entry into adulthood as Intangible Cultural Items.

“I extend my gratitude to the Maasai community for their unwavering commitment to the preservation of Maa traditions and culture. Your resilience has given Kenya a global identity and enriched our nation’s cultural mosaic,” he said.

The President said Government will start ceding 50 percent of revenues from national parks to host communities as part of efforts to transform their lives.

He said the move was aimed at benefiting host communities, through projects aimed at uplifting their lives.

“I have directed that all revenues from our national parks and game reserves should be divided equally between the host counties and the national government,” he said.

Source: CapitalFm News

Uganda, Kenya Seek to Complement Each Other to Maximize Tourism Potential

Uganda and Kenya have announced dates for the second edition of the Uganda-Kenya coast tourism conference set for November this year.

Speaking on Tuesday, the state minister for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba said the conference is yet another opportunity for both countries to seek to maximize the tourism potential between them.

“Uganda possesses some unique tourism products that can be used to make it one of the world’s leading tourist destinations. We possess some of the rarest primates in the world, Namugongo Martyrs shrines, source of River Nile and the rich culture, among others,” Mulimba said.

“Kenya is Uganda’s leading source market and last year alone, over 370,000 Kenyans visited Uganda for various reasons. Also, Uganda is Kenya’s second leading source market after the USA. Just last year over 150,000 Ugandans visited Kenya and out of those 22,000 visited the Kenya Coast.”

He said the conference is yet another opportunity for both countries to increase their tourism potential.

“The increasing number of tourists between Uganda and Kenya Coast has been aided by the improved air connection between Entebbe and Mombasa. Currently, Uganda Airlines operates three weekly direct flights between Entebbe and Mombasa. This is complimented by daily flights by Kenya Airways through Nairobi. Moreover, it is also possible to travel between both countries by road, using national identity cards. Thus, it is possible to leverage on the improved connection to grow the tourism between Uganda and Kenya coast.”

Uganda to tap into Kenyan coast

Kenya’s coastal tourism is booming with thousands of tourists going to the country enjoy various tourism products including the historical Fort Jesus, beaches, resorts, marine national parks, elephant sanctuary, the dolphins, slave caves, sacred forests, Vasco Da Gama Fort, white sands, coral reefs, diving and snorkeling among others.

However, according to Amb.Paul Mukumbya, Uganda’s Consulate General in Mombasa, Uganda seeks to tap into these big numbers.

He insisted that each of these countries needs each other.

“The Kenyan coast is one of the biggest hubs for tourism on the continent mainly because of the biggest beaches. On the other side, in Uganda we have products that are not at the Kenyan coast like the Mountain Gorillas, Chimpanzees, adventure tourism on River Nile, a special product called the Kampala nightlife, cultural tourism and many others that Kenya doesn’t have. By joining synergies, we can tap into each other’s tourism numbers,” Mukumbya said.

“The concept we are working with is creating synergies and working through complementarity at the Kenyan coast and Uganda. We want to see that if someone comes to tour the Kenyan coast, on the same itinerary, they can visit Uganda and look at the beauty we have and the vice versa as those who come to Uganda can visit the Kenyan coast.”

According to Stephen Asiimwe, the Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) by tapping into the tourism numbers to Kenya’s coast, Uganda stands a chance to also grow its tourism numbers.

He added that Uganda is well placed to tap into these numbers.

“The thousands of tourists to the Kenyan coast have money and time. They have done Zanzibar a hundred of times, Serengeti and many other places but they don’t know what is happening this side (Uganda). I can bet you if we can get them here, they can spend the money as they enjoy what Uganda has to offer,” Asiimwe said.

The second Uganda-Kenya coast tourism conference will be held between November 13 and 14 at Neptune Paradise Beach Resort and Spa in Diani, Kwale County in Kenya under the theme, “Consolidating Networks, Synergies, and Diversity to Maximize the tourism potential between Uganda and Kenya Coastal Region”.

The conference will also have tourism excursions, and farm trip.

Source: All Africa

Air transport in Africa: toward sustainable business models for African airlines!

Although there is a vast amount of literature on airline business models and their evolution in changing global landscapes, there is a general lack of research into the applicability of those models, traditionally defined in European and North American contexts, to the African scene.

Implicit in this study is the hypothesis that the African environment is unique enough to warrant its own host of strategies, which may be distinctive enough to form part of a new strategic template, or business model.

Initially, a review of existing literature is undertaken to profile the African aviation environment and evaluate existing airline business models and their evolution, both globally and in Africa. The methodology consists firstly of a cluster exercise, whereby 57 African airlines are analysed in terms of their network and size, to yield a number of heterogeneous groups which serve to identify the current business models of airlines on the continent.

Following this, eight airlines (representative of the groups outlined in the cluster analysis) were subsequently selected for analysis in terms of the Product and Organisational Architecture framework. While it was evident that the traditional models are followed in Africa, in some instances variations were apparent.

Full-service network carriers and regional carriers were concluded as being the most prominent and stable in the African market. The applicability of the low-cost carrier model in Africa was also examined at length, with mixed results. The analysis also raised network density and connectivity as essential components of business models for delivering profits in an African context.

The operating environments in which airlines find themselves are far from homogeneous. The diversity of policies, geographies and economies across the world imply a need for a set of bespoke strategies, which can be represented in broad templates or business models designed to respond to the challenges presented by specific operating environments. This paper will aim to examine the most sustainable of such business models in the African context, by first identifying the current business models pursued by airlines on the continent, followed by a study of their sustainability from 2 key perspectives: market presence and Product and Organisational Architecture (as used by Mason and Morrison (2008)).

Implicit in this research is the hypothesis that the African environment is unique enough to warrant its own host of strategies, which may be distinctive enough to form part of a new strategic template or business model. In the context of African aviation, chief bodies of research centre on the impact of liberalisation on the continent (Chingosho, 2009, ICAO, 2003, Morrison, 2004, Schlumberger, 2010, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2001), with limited reference to the evolution of airline strategies in response to these developments.

Source: The Point

South African Airways Launches New Codeshare Flights with Lufthansa, Swiss to Follow Soon

South African Airways, in collaboration with the Lufthansa Group, has recently unveiled an exciting development for travelers heading to and from southern Africa. A new codeshare agreement between South African Airways and Lufthansa has been established, with Swiss joining the partnership in the near future. This strategic move comes as part of the Star Alliance network, aimed at enhancing the travel experience for passengers.

The highlight of this agreement is the revival of the reciprocal codeshare partnership between Lufthansa and South African Airways, set to commence in August 2023. Travelers can look forward to seamless connections between various destinations, providing greater convenience and flexibility.

Under this partnership, Lufthansa-operated flights will now extend their reach into Johannesburg, opening up two exciting routes: Johannesburg to Cape Town and Johannesburg to Durban. Simultaneously, South African Airways-operated flights will include Johannesburg to Frankfurt, creating an array of options for passengers.

The collaboration marks a pivotal moment in the long-standing relationship between these airlines. Dating back to 1995, the initial codeshare agreement was inked for the Frankfurt to Johannesburg route.

The codeshare agreement also extends to the Star Alliance network, which paves the way for further codeshare partnerships with other members of the Lufthansa Group. As a result, more options for passengers to explore international destinations are on the horizon.

As part of the plans for the near future, Swiss, another key player within the Lufthansa Group, is poised to join this codeshare agreement. This development will expand the network even further, with Zurich-Johannesburg flights expected to be covered.

Source: Airspace Africa  

Kenya’s tourism market makes an impressive comeback

  • In the first half of 2023, Kenya’s tourism sector experienced an impressive 31% increase in earnings compared to the same period in the previous year.  
  • The industry’s revenue growth was propelled by a 32% increase in tourist visits, with the number rising from 642,861 to 847,810. 
  • Leading markets for arrivals included the US, Uganda, Tanzania, the UK, and India, while both domestic tourism and visits for business, conferences, and meetings also contributed to the positive trend.

As a result of the continuous global recovery, the tourism industry in Kenya saw a 31% increase in earnings in the first half of the year through June compared to the same time in 2022.

In the last six months, the tourism industry booked Ksh152.6 billion ($1.06 billion), up from Ksh116.2 billion ($807.79 million) in 2022, according to data from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).

The revenues increased as tourist visits increased by 32%, from 642,861 to 847,810 in the same time in 2022. One of COVID-19’s hardest-hit industries was international travel and tourism, which is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

“The tourism sector in Kenya experienced a remarkable upswing in international arrivals leading to a positive effect on the country’s tourism receipts,” said the KTB in its report. “This performance is a 92 percent recovery when compared to the 2019 performance of 929,814 arrivals same period. Of significance is that June 2023 arrivals closed at 168,051. This is a growth of one percent when compared to 166,692,” the report adds.

Holidays continued to be the primary reason for entry closure throughout the study period, accounting for 338,509 (39.9%) of all entries. Visits for business, conferences, and meetings came in second with 226,908 arrivals, an increase of 26.8%, while visits to family and friends came in third with 213,417 arrivals, an increase of 25.2 percent.

44,620 (5.3%) people used the transit system. Other goals included sports, medical, education, and religion, totaling 24,356, a gain of 2.9%.

According to the data, the US (118,480), Uganda (89,968), Tanzania (69,777), the UK (65,563), and India (42,805) are the top five countries for overseas arrivals.

Some important markets have outperformed 2019 (January–June) performance, including the US (up 7% from 110,743 to 118,480), Italy (up 15.6% from 22,017 to 25,451), Germany (up 4% from 32,142 to 33,418), Rwanda (up 34.5% from 18,845 to 25,422), and Ethiopia (up 66.1%).

The Netherlands increased by 6.9%, from 19,123 to 20,442, Nigeria increased by 7.3%, from 15,307 to 16,424, Ghana increased by 28.1%, from 5,137 to 6,583, and Russia increased by 40.8 %, from 2,514 to 3,539.

Domestic tourism increased throughout the time period under study, with bed nights concluding the year 2023 (January–June) at 2.3 million, up from 2.02 million. This represents a 16 percent gain. The Easter holidays and business travel, respectively, are to blame for the best-performing months of April and June.

Source: Business Insider Africa