04-01-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
There is a good chance that 2021 will be the year of the return of Italian and European tourism to Kenya.
The optimism derives primarily from the arrival of the vaccine, although not compulsory and not yet binding for travel abroad, but with the probable introduction of the 'health passport' that will replace the mandatory swab.
The vaccine will in fact reopen organised tourism and may represent a security not only for those who travel and arrive in Kenya, but for Kenyans themselves who may have to wait a few months longer to immunise themselves.
Another fact is the desire of many Europeans and compatriots to 'escape' from the national cage in which they have been imprisoned for almost a year. It is true that many Italians are arriving at the new season under economic strain, but there are also those who, during the pandemic (think of many pensioners, for example, or of workers in the technology and online sectors), have saved money or even earned it, but have been unable to spend it.
If we combine this desire with a great desire for Kenya, the objective hope rises that the destinations of the African country, which in the two years leading up to 2020 was recovering the tourist numbers of its golden years, can once again host travellers in the short and medium term.
Safaris in the National Parks and holidays on the beaches of Watamu and Diani or in the relaxation of Malindi could be suitable for the right mix of "natural" social distances and fun, with the only recommendation to assess well the health situation. In reality, however, with regard to vaccines, there is no change from previous years for those who choose Kenya: international medical insurance is always recommended and antimalarial prophylaxis is not recommended, in favour of artemisinin drugs that can be purchased locally.
With a timid influx in January and February, particularly of repeaters and homeowners, there will be a glimmer of the climax that marked last year's excellent season until the end of February, but the real test for a return to at least 50% of tourism will be in August, with the expected resumption of charter flights and the reopening of activities linked to tour operators.
From November this year, we should be preparing for a new season that will bring splendour back to the places we spend so much money and love so much.
And off we go, with escapism, pleasure and... Mal d'Afrique!
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