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Kenya Airways-KATA deal to spur economic growth – Kenya News Agency

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The Kenya Association of Travel Agents has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kenya Airways to foster collaboration in their operations.

This strategic collaboration, initiated by travel agents, aims to bolster the national carrier’s market presence and strengthen its competitive position within the industry.

This partnership is expected to bring about significant benefits for both parties, leveraging the expertise and networks of travel agents to drive the growth and innovation of Kenya Airways.

Speaking at the 44th Annual Travel Convention and General Meeting under the theme ‘Make the Connection’ held at Sarova Whitesands, Mombasa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KATA, Nicanor Sabula, highlighted the substantial impact of recent government policy changes, technological advancements, and the overall growth of the industry.

He noted that these developments are shaping the future of travel, requiring stakeholders to adapt and innovate in response to the evolving landscape.

The meeting brought together more than 300 delegates representing the travel agency community.

“We have invited our colleagues from six of our neighbouring African countries, representing Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, so that we can share knowledge to be able to make the connection alongside growing our Intra- Africa Travel,” Sabula said.

He noted that they had also discussed the contemporary issues emerging in society, including Artificial Intelligence and how it can be used to support businesses.

He highlighted that the industry’s statistics indicate that Kenya has recovered and surpassed the pre-pandemic numbers by approximately 30 per cent. Initially, the recovery was projected to be achieved by 2025; however, by the end of 2023, the sector had already experienced a 30 per cent recovery, demonstrating a faster-than-expected rebound.

Patrick Bucha, Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, highlighted the Ministry’s commitment to broadening the industry’s scope through medical tourism advocacy and exploring unconventional offerings beyond traditional staples.

“This forward-thinking approach underscores the government’s dedication to catering to the evolving needs and preferences of global travelers,” he stated.

He highlighted that a key focus area is developing and marketing Kenya as the “Home of Human Origins,” leveraging our rich heritage and cultural tapestry to offer an immersive journey into the cradle of humanity. Through this initiative, the aim is to captivate visitors with an unparalleled exploration of our nation’s historical and anthropological significance.

Moreover, Bucha noted that the Ministry recognises the private sector’s invaluable role in driving this transformative vision. It is eager to foster close collaborations with the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), harnessing their expertise and insights to craft innovative tourism experiences that resonate with diverse audiences.

The Chairman of KATA, who is also the Managing Director of Hemingways Travel, Joseph Kithitu, highlighted on the importance of leading the change in advocating for a shift in mindset to be able to be embraced as travel advisors by travel agents, as that aligns with the changing landscape and reflects the role they play in the travel industry.

Regarding infrastructure, Kithitu said that the infrastructure development to expand the travel and tourism industries has been steadily progressive. However, he called for the acceleration of this to maximise the benefits that come with it, stimulate growth in the tourism sector, and increase economic benefits for the nations.

The Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways (KQ), Allan Kilavuka, addressed the importance of the collaboration with the Kenyan Travel Advisors, noting that KQ recognises the crucial partnership with the advisors in the aviation industry.

Kilavuka expressed that, in line with the convention’s theme ‘make the connection’ he commits to forging deeper synergies between KQ and KATA to unlock new opportunities to elevate the entire travel ecosystem.

“This recent period has been an eventful chapter for Kenya Airways, marked by significant strides, overcoming challenges, and setting our sights on new horizons. We recorded a full-year operating profit of Sh10.5 billion, a swing of Sh16 billion from a loss of Sh5.6 billion reported in 2022! This remarkable feat speaks volumes about the commitment and diligence of every member of the KQ family,” Kilavuka said.

By Fatma Said

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