The hospitality sector in Nairobi is ready for takeoff in Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) business following the resumption of British Airways Nairobi–London operations.

Stakeholders in the hospitality and tourism sectors have expressed enthusiasm of an early return of businesses from Europe to pre-COVID-19 period. The steady return to normalcy has been attributed to the government’s effort in rolling out COVID–19 vaccination program.

Reacting to the development, operators in the MICE business described the gesture as a good beginning as part of the post-COVID-19 ease of travel.

PrideInn Hotels Sales and Marketing Director Mrs. Farzana Zahir said, “It’s a sign of good things to come. Now we can have international arrivals both for business and leisure back into our economy. With resumption of British Airways and removal of Kenya from UK’s red list, even hotel owners and other hospitality businesses will begin to see increase revenue after months of travel restriction.”

Speaking on the ravaging economic effects of the pandemic on the sector, Farzana said the emergencies caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement and cancellations of major tour and conference packages.

“Now we can begin to enjoy and welcome business travellers as well. The sector should be up and running with time. All the talks over the past few months on various webinars and zoom conferences may eventually allow people to come out and do what we love to do best; showcasing the beauty of our country to both the domestic and business travellers,” Farzana added.

The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine on the other hand is poised to stimulate the MICE industry’s long-term revival in Nairobi. Government efforts in scaling up its vaccination drive to inoculate at least 70% of its population by the end of the year will also help to facilitate cross-border travel and enable the recovery of the sector.