Kenyans traveling outside Kenya will be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine passport starting next year.

According to Najib Balala Tourism Cabinet Secretary, the government is in consultations with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to develop the vaccine passport. The Cabinet Secretary was speaking at the launch of a COVID-19 vaccination drive for all tourism and hospitality frontline workers.

The proposed vaccine certificate will be similar to the yellow fever vaccine certificate that Kenyans use when traveling.

“There will be a vaccination card just like the one for yellow fever being pushed by IATA . We are continuing to consult with them . At the moment we cannot say that people need to be vaccinated to travel. But soon it will be,” CS Balala said on Wednesday.

The Cabinet Secretary added that with most of the country’s tourist source markets in Europe vaccinating more than 60% of their adult population, tourism is expected to resume soon. “They are working hard to vaccinate as many Kenyans and all frontline workers in the Tourism and Hospitality to encourage more tourists to come into the country,” he added

Recent lockdown measures, according to the CS, have resulted in a reduction in business of up to 80%, while urging patience from sector players who have labeled the measures punitive. With the recent containment measures including lockdown, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by the government, the tourism sector especially along the Kenyan coast has been dealt a big blow.

The first 5000 vaccines for the sector will be distributed over the next 10 days, with at least 50,000 more to be distributed once the second batch arrives in the country.