The Star (Nairobi)

16 August 2014

Kenya: Tour Firms Weigh in On KQ Move Over Ebola

Photo: Tommy Trenchard/IRIN
Ebola patient in Sierra Leone.

TOURISM players yesterday gave mixed reactions on the Ebola threat in West Africa .

Some wanted Kenya Airways to suspend flights to West African countries while others said that would casue panic.

Africana Savana Tours and Travel managing director Aaron Cheruiyot yesterday said Kenya Airways should not pull out of West Africa.

"West Africa accounts for the largest volume of passenger traffic in Africa. Medical experts have in no way said Ebola can be carried as cargo such that it can be sneaked into a plane and let loose as the plane does its final approach," he said.

He was reacting to the Human Rights Parliamentary Caucus' plea that KQ suspends its flights to West Africa.

Cheruiyot said Emirates and Ethiopian airlines, which are KQ's main rivals on the routes, are still flying and working hard to gain more frequencies.

"The cautious Americans are bringing in Delta daily, Air France is still on. All they do is proper screening. Kenya needs to do the same," he said.

Tourman Africa Safari Services managing director Andrew Mungatana remained said whether KQ suspends its flights to West Africa or not, the tourism industry will not be affected.

"West Africa is more of a business hub than a tourism hub. We don't have much from them as far as tourism is concerned," said Mungatana.

He however urged the Health ministry and the Kenya Airports Authority to put in place more measures that will ensure the Ebola virus does not get into Kenya.

African Quest Safaris managing director Tasneem Adamji yesterday said they are hoping for a positive response from KQ, which was set to make an announcement on whether they will suspend or not their flights to West Africa.

"I am not the right person to speak about this but our industry had also requested that they temporarily suspend their flights there," he said.

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