Celebrating Collaboration: KATA’s Perspective on the Visit of Jordanian Minister of Tourism

Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) warmly received a special invitation to a dinner in honor of the official visit by Jordanian Minister of Tourism, Makram Mustafa Queisi. Among the esteemed attendees were Dr. Joseph Kithitu, Chairperson of KATA, and CEO Nicanor Sabula, alongside John Chirchir, CEO of Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).

The visit of Jordanian Minister of Tourism presents an exciting opportunity for both Kenya and Jordan. The emphasis on “mutual growth” and “enriching experiences” suggests a collaborative approach that benefits both tourism industries. This could involve joint marketing campaigns, exchange programs for tourism professionals, and the development of multi-destination itineraries combining the unique offerings of both nations.

At its core, tourism serves as a bridge between people and nations. This partnership has the potential to promote global understanding and appreciation for different cultures and environments. By fostering connections between individuals, it creates lasting memories and friendships beyond borders. KATA is committed to ensuring mutual collaboration between Kenya and Jordan, facilitating seamless travel policies and enhancing the partnership between the two nations.

In celebrating this collaboration, KATA looks forward to the shared prosperity and cultural exchange that will enrich the travel experiences of visitors from both Kenya and Jordan.

Kenya Airways resumes nonstop flights to Mogadishu, fostering regional connectivity.

Nairobi, 15th February 2024 – Kenya Airways has reintroduced nonstop flights to Mogadishu, Somalia, signaling a landmark achievement in regional connectivity and development. The thrice-weekly flights will bring about greater convenience of nonstop travel, focusing on reduced travel time and enhanced accessibility between Nairobi and Mogadishu.

The Somalia flight will operate from Terminal 2 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Kenya Airways had initially launched flights to Mogadishu in December 2018 but had to suspend the route due to the pandemic. In August 2023, bilateral air services agreement between Kenya and Somalia were signed paving the way for direct flights.

Highlighting the significance of this development, Kenya Airway’s Group Managing Director and CEO, Allan Kilavuka said the resumption of flights to Mogadishu aligns with the airline’s strategic commitment to expanding its network across the African continent and contributing to its long-term economic progress.

“The introduction of 3X-weekly flights will undoubtedly enhance trade and economic opportunities between our connected regions, stimulate tourism, and strengthen cultural and social ties. Apart from passenger services, our recently acquired B737-800 Freighter has started ferrying cargo directly between Sharjah and Mogadishu with a weekly flight and plans to increase this to twice weekly by April 2024.”said Mr. Kilavuka.   

The flights are expected to improve connectivity for business travelers, the Somali diaspora, NGOs among others. In recent years, Somalia has witnessed significant positive change as peace efforts bear fruit. In December 2023, Somalia’s was formally admitted to the East African Community (EAC), making it the eighth member of the regional block.

In January 2023, the Somali airspace regained its Class A classification after more than 30 years, a move recognized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for its potential to enhance safety and efficiency in the region.

Kenya Airways, with its expanded global network, now connects passengers to 43 global destinations, providing more convenient travel options.

Source: Corporate Kenya Airways.  

Dubai Hits Record with 17.15M International Tourists in 2023.

Dubai Economy and Tourism

Dubai welcomed more tourists than ever before in 2023, attracting 17.15 million international overnight visitors over the course of the year, according to the latest data published by Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). Representing a 19.4% YoY growth over the 14.36 million tourist arrivals in 2022, last year’s figure also exceeded the previous record of 16.73 million visitors registered in 2019.

Celebrating a record-breaking 2023, Dubai’s tourism industry performance further bolstered its ranking as the No.1 global destination for an unprecedented third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024, the first city to achieve this unique accolade. The repeated acknowledgement of Dubai as the world’s favourite destination is a testament to the city’s vibrant and diverse offerings – with an eclectic mix of luxury and affordable hotels and restaurants, as well as a range of attractions and cultural sites which pay homage to the heritage of the emirate. Catering to travellers of all budgets and preferences, Dubai’s unique proposition and a year-round calendar of business, leisure and sporting events continues to attract visitors from around the world.

Key regions maintain momentum

The strong tourism performance in 2023 saw Dubai maintain its position as a first-choice travel destination for visitors, both from key traditional and emerging markets. From a regional perspective, the GCC and MENA countries delivered a combined 28% of the share, demonstrating Dubai’s allure as a trusted and favoured destination for visitors from neighbouring markets. Western Europe and South Asia accounted for 19% and 18% of arrivals respectively, while CIS/Eastern Europe recorded a 13% share. The North Asia and South-East Asia region accounted for 9% of arrivals, the Americas contributed 7%, Africa 4% and Australasia 2%.

Dubai’s luxury hotel landscape continues to expand rapidly. Atlantis The Royal, ranked No.44 on the World’s 50 Best Hotels list, debuted in February 2023, immediately enhancing the city’s opulent offerings. Anticipated openings set to enhance Dubai’s hotel scene for 2024 include the affordable and edgy Mama Shelter Dubai, designed for millennials and ideal for solo travellers; SIRO One Za’abeel, focused on holistic fitness, recovery, and well-being; Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab, signifying a new era in luxury hospitality for the Dubai-born brand; and The Lana, a Dorchester Collection hotel that promises a captivating rooftop scene that transitions from daytime pool to lively late-night lounge bar.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said: “The extensive range of offerings and Dubai’s reputation as a secure and accessible destination have been consistently recognised across multiple global indices, culminating in the city being crowned the No.1 global destination for a third year in a row in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024. The sustained success will further enhance visitors’ enduring trust, confidence and affinity for Dubai, as it accelerates towards the goal of becoming the best city to visit, live and work in. We are strategically harnessing the significant momentum generated during a highly successful 2023 to drive growth across all segments of tourism and enhance capacity to showcase our unparalleled offerings tailored to cater to the diverse preferences and budgets of international travellers.”

To read the latest research, insights and official reports from across Dubai’s tourism industry, please visit: www.dubaitourism.gov.ae/en/research-and-insights.

Key Facts:

Dubai’s 19.4% YoY increase in 2023 saw international visitation numbers exceed pre-pandemic levels

New accommodation options enhance Dubai’s luxury hotel portfolio

The city was ranked as the No.1 global destination for a third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024

About us:

About Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)

With the ultimate vision of making Dubai the world’s leading commercial centre, investment hub and tourism destination, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) is mandated to support the Government in positioning the emirate as a major hub for global economy and tourism, and in boosting the city’s economic and tourism competitiveness indicators, in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which aims to double the size of the emirate’s economy and consolidate its position among the top three global cities over the next decade.

Under this remit, DET is driving efforts to further enhance Dubai’s diversified, innovative service-based economy to attract top global talent, deliver a world-class business environment and accelerate productivity growth. Additionally, DET is supporting Dubai’s vision to become the world’s best city to visit, live and work in by promoting its diverse destination proposition, unique lifestyle and outstanding quality of life, overall.

DET is the principal authority for planning, supervising, developing and marketing Dubai’s business and tourism sectors. It is also responsible for licensing and classifying all types of businesses, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. The DET portfolio includes Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC), Dubai Business Licence Corporation (DBLC), Dubai Corporation for Consumer Protection and Fair Trade (DCCPFT), Dubai SME, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) and Dubai College of Tourism (DCT).

Source:  Mirage News.

Why you need a Professional & Certified Travel Agent

More often than not, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) receives complaints from travelers who are victims of holiday scams after having purchased fake air tickets or fake holiday packages from unscrupulous travel agents.

The reality is that while it was widely predicted that the internet was going to ease travel by providing tons of information on available flights, fares, destination, safari packages, hotel bookings and literally everything a consumer needs in planning their travel, when digital tools were placed at every traveler’s disposal, chaos ensued. It also gave rise to sophisticated internet scammers that have swindled innocent consumers their hard-earned money and dream travel experiences.

Very often, the association will be hand tied in dealing with such complaints making it hard to assist the innocent complainants. We urge members of the public to ensure that the deal with KATA certified agents who have been vetted and tried in the market. They are bound by an ethical code of conduct and ethics the binds their dealings with clients on integrity and professionalism.

Other than assuring you of safety of your money, KATA certified travel agents bring tons of expertise in managing travel not only in Kenya but to global destinations.

Individual Travel Planning Vs Using a Travel Agent

Let say you want to book a hotel in Sandton, South Africa for Meetings Africa 2024 and want to do it on your own? It’s simple. Just type “Hotels in Sandton, South Africa” on Google search, then wade through the 520 million search results – most of which look the same, whether they are good or bad, legit, or bogus. Spend just 10 seconds each vetting sites, and you’ll be done in four years – and still won’t have booked anything.

Let’s take a much simpler planning, like straightforward searches for airfares for example for Nairobi to Toronto. The major search engines will routinely leave out lots of flights and even entire airlines. You will also be bombarded with terrible options starting with basic economy fares that come with tons of restrictions and fees, so the price you see isn’t the one you end up paying, along with connections way too short or way too long, ones that no responsible travel agent would let you book.

Amid this jamboree of information, chances are a huge percentage – that could be well close to half – could be phony. There has been an unprecedent rise in fake travel agents that look legit by every measure; impressive website, competitive packages, a physical location together with photos, fake reviews, fake receptionists etc. An initial search on the internet clears all doubt from a potential traveller that the agency/site could be a sophisticated scammer. You can’t believe how easy it is to get scammed online.

Let’s face it; a great holiday experience anywhere in the world will depend on how well you can architect the whole thing. From transport to accommodation, there are tons of things and options to consider. And in all honesty, trying to put together such an experience while relying on your own misguided sense of expertise without the help of a professional travel agent is simply foolish. This is where a KATA certified travel agent comes in to take away all the hustle, help you with your budget and give you a pleasant travel experience.  

Why a you need a travel agent

Anything that can go wrong will go wrong: Emergencies do happen and for every average occasional traveller who anticipates that anything can go wrong, chances are something will always go wrong. Stuff happens, and are often unpredictable. Bad weather has become a commonplace these days, you could get sick, get robbed, or be caught in those events that will disrupt your flights, and/or your final destination. Think civil unrest, disease outbreaks, wildfires or airline labor strikes.

Anything that causes cancelled flights means hassles, but the people who get through this process the most smoothly and the ones who get rebooked first are usually the ones who used a travel agent. The rest will get bumped from flight to flight – involuntarily – at a rate probably three times higher than what you would have paid.

KATA agents will always be a call away.

Travel agents are constantly monitoring their clients’ flights and they usually know about your problem before you do – and often have a solution before you even call them. They have direct access to airlines, to GDS (global distribution system) and can get ticketing changes made in minutes.

So, as much as you’d want to hope on a cheap flight that you found on your internet searches, you probably would not know what to do when caught in these situations without the help of a travel agent.

Unrivalled expertise: You can never know everything about travel, even if you are a frequent traveller. You need to deal with someone who is deeply involved in the industry, and who better than KATA certified travel agents? The problem with travellers who get scammed, they often rely on information they get from phony sites that will often be misleading. The result is you get scammed or land a raw deal. Some travelers will want to play safe and only stick to know brands of hotels or airlines or destinations that they know. Chances are, the best hotels, airlines and destinations are ones you have likely never heard of or used. This is where you can’t beat KATA travel agents’ knowledge and ability to give you a bespoke travel and holiday experience. The agencies usually leverage several experts such as a safari expert, a cruise expert, a corporate travel expert, a honeymoon expert, and so on, and they all work together.

First lane access: Whether you are trying to book space at a coveted 8-villa safari lodge in Laikipia, Kenya or getting a room in a top South Africa hotel during the Meetings Africa 2024, most hoteliers keep emergency inventory and guess who gets it? The travel agents they have known for years who book a lot of guests and send them a lot of business. This is the order of things in the travel industry. Do you need access to that hard-to-get dinner reservation? Free upgrade to first class? Or a free upgrade to the presidential suite? The KATA travel agent is your go-to person as they have built these connections over years or decades. Good luck trying to get that experiential travel on your own. When you get more than you expected for the same price, that’s a great deal, and with our certified travel agents this happens all the time.

Travel with confidence and book your next trip through a KATA certified travel agent by visiting this link:- https://katakenya.org/our-members/

Join us in Discovering the Beauty, Culture, and History of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s rich history is on full display during “Tir”,(“Tir” is the fifth month in the Ethiopian Calendar, which similarly hits upon January in the Gregorian Month.) with traditional weddings taking place throughout the month. Harvesting festivities abound, and horse riders flourish in their displays of skill. The diverse regions of Ethiopia each contribute their unique cultural elements – from the densely forested West to the shining camels of the East, the South resonates with the melodic songs of elephants, and the Northern mountains echo with tales of times past. The sun graces the land from dawn to dusk, illuminating the landscapes that are teeming with life. The coffee fields are abuzz with activity as farmers diligently pick the beans, a testament to Ethiopia’s status as the birthplace of coffee.

The water towers of Ethiopia proudly stand as symbols of the country’s strength and resilience, their significance deeply ingrained in the nation’s history. Ethiopia, often called as the Land of Origins, welcomes you to explore its wonders, where every cup of coffee brewed holds the timeless story of the boy Kalid.

ET-Holidays, your guide on this enchanting journey through Ethiopia, is excitingly inviting all nature lovers with a special flight package and arrangements. Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of the magic that Tir 2016 has to offer. Pack your bags, and let Ethiopia unfold its wonders before you.

For more information ,please contact Ethiopian Holiday Team or Nairobi office on the below address.

Website:  https://www.ethiopianholidays.com

Email : nbocto@ethiopianairlines.com/nbosr@ethiopianairlines.com

Tel: 0701 223970/ 0723 786649 / 0701223493

Over 40,000 Kenyan Tourists Visited South Africa in 2023.

By Bryan Obala- Kenya Association of Travel Agents

In a remarkable surge, South Africa’s tourism sector witnessed a significant influx of Kenyan tourists in 2023, with over 40,000 visitors from Kenya choosing to explore the vibrant landscapes and rich cultural heritage of the Rainbow Nation.

This impressive growth can be attributed to the strategic decisions taken by both the Kenyan and South African governments to relax visa regulations in 2022, facilitating seamless travel between the two nations. The introduction of simplified visa procedures made it easier for Kenyan travelers to experience the diverse attractions that South Africa has to offer.

Working in tandem with South Africa Tourism, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) played a pivotal role in promoting travel to South Africa for both leisure and business purposes. Through collaborative efforts, KATA and South Africa Tourism have effectively showcased the unique experiences and attractions awaiting travelers in South Africa, enticing Kenyan tourists to explore this captivating destination.

Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille, expressed delight at the substantial increase in Kenyan tourist arrivals and acknowledged the positive impact of the relaxed visa regime on tourism growth. She emphasized the importance of continued collaboration between government bodies and industry stakeholders to further enhance travel opportunities and promote sustainable tourism development.

Looking ahead, Minister de Lille underscored the need to address remaining barriers such as visa regulations and limited air access to ensure sustained growth in tourist arrivals. She reiterated the government’s commitment to working closely with partners and stakeholders to facilitate policy and regulatory reforms that will support the growth of the tourism sector.

In conclusion, Minister de Lille extended her gratitude to all visitors for choosing South Africa as their preferred destination and expressed appreciation to the people of South Africa for their warm hospitality. With optimism for continued growth and development, she emphasized the timeless charm and allure of South Africa as a premier tourism destination.

Experience South Africa: Your Gateway to Unforgettable Adventures!

Dubai Is Officially Over The Pandemic, Tourism Hits New Record.

Dubai saw 17 million visitors in 2023, the emirate’s best-ever year for tourism and the first year ahead of pre-pandemic numbers. The news was shared in a brief tweet by the city’s crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

The prince wrote: “The city is at the forefront of the global tourism sector, with one of the world’s highest hotel occupancy rates.”

Before Covid-19 struck, the emirate had set out to reach 20 million travelers by 2020, and it managed to hit 16.73 million for 2019. We don’t yet have a set goal for tourism in 2024.

In 2023, occupancy levels averaged 77.4% for the year across Dubai’s 800-plus hotels and 150,000 rooms. Further information such as source markets, average rooms rates and revenues are yet to be released by Dubai Tourism.

The most up-to-date data we have on source markets goes up to October 2023 but the rest of the year is likely to have followed similar trends. India was the top source market with 1.9 million visitors at that time, followed by the UK with 954,000 and nearby Saudi Arabia with 930,000.

In the first half of this year, it was Russia boosting Dubai’s tourism sector.

2024 Goals for Dubai Tourism

Dubai Tourism CEO Issam Kazim said in December that the emirate would look to improve its marketing around affordability this year.

Speaking at the Skift Global Forum East 2023, Kazim said: “Affordability comes hand in hand with supply. The perception people have of Dubai is because of specific properties and specific districts. Those are the usual suspects. But you can find amazing affordable options in Dubai.”

He said their lack of recognition is a marketing issue.

“We need people to realize all the supply beyond the usual suspects. It’s a marketing issue, it’s a communication issue.”

Kazim added that Dubai as a destination has matured, moving away from building superlative mega-structures for the sake of image, and more towards becoming a place tourists would want to one day live.

He said: “We created landmark projects. Those got us attention. Once we had the spotlight, we began to showcase the beauty here. There are 200 nationalities here, that’s the true magic of the city.”

“People want to raise their kids here, they want to become global citizens. People don’t become “Dubians,” they retain their culture and they become global citizens. This is a multinational city.”

Source: Skift.

Proflight Zambia and Air Tanzania Forge Seamless Travel Experience with Interline Agreement

Proflight Zambia, Zambia’s leading commercial airline, has unveiled an exciting development in its quest to enhance passenger connectivity and travel options. The airline has officially entered an interline ticketing agreement with Air Tanzania, a strategic move aimed at providing passengers with access to new destinations and a seamlessly integrated travel experience within the region.

This innovative partnership facilitates a streamlined ticketing process, enabling travelers to effortlessly book itineraries that span both Proflight Zambia and Air Tanzania, all within a single ticketed journey.

Captain Josias Walubita, Director of Flight Operations at Proflight Zambia, expressed enthusiasm about the agreement, emphasizing its goal to deliver cost-effective and flexible travel options for passengers utilizing the services of both airlines. He stated, “We look forward to enhancing passenger experiences across both airlines’ routes.”

Eng. Ladislaus Matindi, Managing Director of Air Tanzania, highlighted the benefits of choosing their airline. He pointed out that passengers opting for Air Tanzania would become part of the largest network family, gaining access to improved connections and convenient travel options within Zambia’s domestic routes and four major cities: Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town.

As the interline agreement takes effect, passengers can seamlessly book journeys that involve both Proflight Zambia and Air Tanzania flights.

Looking ahead into 2024, Proflight Zambia plans to introduce discounted fares for itineraries combining the two airlines. Examples include routes like Dar es Salaam to Johannesburg via Lusaka. These fares will be accessible through Proflight Zambia’s official website and Global Distribution System (GDS).

 Source: Airspace Africa.  

Kenya Airways Expands Flights to Nigeria: A Leap Towards Pan-African Unity and Tourism.

Kenya Airways amplifies its flights to Nigeria, offering daily services and strengthening Pan-African unity. The airline introduces an online e-visa application process and signs a codeshare agreement with Air Europa, expanding access to European and American destinations. Despite challenges, Kenya Airways remains committed to forging alliances and growing tourism.

On the cusp of a new era in African connectivity, Kenya Airways has announced its intention to increase flights to Nigeria, offering daily services to the nation. This strategic move, unveiled by the acting Kenyan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Samuel Mogere, during the Magical Kenya roadshow in Abuja, is set to fortify tourism between the two countries.

Currently, the airline operates four weekly flights between Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. With the proposed expansion, Kenya Airways aims to strengthen its commitment to Pan-African unity and support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, a vital initiative designed to stimulate long-term growth across the continent.

A Symphony of Progress: Kenya’s Expanding Horizons.

In addition to the heightened flight frequency, Kenya has introduced an online e-visa application process, streamlining travel for individuals wishing to visit the nation. This digital transformation signifies a pivotal step in Kenya’s ongoing efforts to boost tourism and facilitate seamless travel experiences for its visitors.

As the second-largest airline in East Africa, Kenya Airways serves 41 international destinations in 35 countries. The airline holds the distinction of being the first African national carrier to successfully privatize in 1996, a testament to its enduring legacy and relentless pursuit of progress.

Forging Alliances: A Network of Opportunities.

In a bid to enhance access to European and American destinations for passengers traveling to and from East Africa, Kenya Airways recently inked a codeshare agreement with Spain’s Air Europa. This partnership is poised to open up a world of possibilities for travelers, fostering increased connectivity and collaboration between nations.

However, the road to progress is seldom without its challenges. In a recent episode, the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority banned Kenya Airways flights from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam, in retaliation for Kenya’s refusal to permit cargo flights from Air Tanzania to land in Nairobi. Nevertheless, Kenya Airways remains undeterred in its mission to forge ahead and build a robust network of alliances.

The Journey Ahead: A Vision for Unity and Growth

As Kenya Airways sets its sights on raising tourist arrivals from West Africa, it is gearing up for roadshows in Nigerian and Ghanaian cities, including Accra, Abuja, and Lagos. The airline currently operates regular direct flights into these three cities, with other airlines also connecting Kenya to these bustling hubs.

The partnerships between the Kenya Tourism Board and the private sector are crucial in realizing its goals of improving tourism arrivals into Kenya. The upcoming roadshows, scheduled for February 5 through 9, 2024, will bring together over 400 travel trade companies and present an invaluable opportunity for the Kenyan trade to engage with West African travel agents and tour operators. By showcasing its diverse range of products and services, Kenya hopes to forge new partnerships that will drive growth and solidify its standing as a premier tourist destination.

In the grand tapestry of African unity and progress, Kenya Airways stands as a beacon of hope and determination. As it continues to expand its wings and reach for the skies, the airline remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering unity, boosting tourism, and creating opportunities for growth and collaboration across the continent.

Source: BNN

Kenya Airways and Air Europa sign code-share agreement.

National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) has signed a code-sharing agreement with Spain’s third-largest airline, Air Europa amid a resurgence in demand for air travel.

KQ said the deal would enable it to extend its reach in Europe and the US. The agreement will allow Air Europa passengers to fly to Nairobi from Amsterdam while those on KQ flights would get connections to Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, New York, and Miami.

“We are excited about this partnership as it will provide our guests with more convenient travel options to Europe and the United States. Air Europa has been our partner under the SkyTeam Alliance, and this agreement allows us to collaborate more for the mutual benefit of our guests giving them more access and connectivity,” Martin Gitonga, KQ’s head of network planning and alliances, said.

Code-sharing is an agreement between two or more airlines to sell seats for the same flight which means that passengers enjoy benefits such as the purchase of a single ticket, a single check-in, and seamless connections at transit points.

As part of the deal, KQ will deploy its codes on four Air Europa routes, specifically from Amsterdam to Madrid, Madrid to Palma de Mallorca, Madrid to New York, and Miami while Air Europa will place their code on the Kenya Airways Amsterdam to Nairobi flight.

The code-sharing agreement with Air Europa joins a growing list of similar pacts signed between KQ and international airlines.

Source: Business Daily.