Planes grounded. Beaches deserted. National parks shuttered. Four months of lockdown has exacted quite the toll on Kenya’s usually-thriving tourism industry.
But now, in a bid to lure back travellers and kickstart its flagging economy, the country’s president has announced it will reopen its borders from August 1.
In a statement on Wednesday, Uhuru Kenyatta said the country would resume international flights from that date, and that the country’s internal travel restrictions would be lifted at the same time.
Domestic flights are also set to resume from July 15, and as of Wednesday, travel is allowed in and out of the capital, Nairobi. A nationwide curfew – currently from 9pm to 4am – will remain in place until at least August 6.
Back in June, Kenyatta had said that infection rates would have to be on a downward trend before he reopened Kenya’s borders. He added that the country would have to better prepare its health care system in case of a new outbreak.
This week, the president claimed Kenya was now ready, saying: ‘We have reached a reasonable level of preparedness across the country to allow us to reopen.’
However, he added that the reopening date was conditional on transmission rates continuing to decline. ‘Any trends that signal a worsening of the pandemic, we will have no choice but to return to the lockdown,’ he said.
So it may be worth waiting before booking that trip of a lifetime. Once borders do reopen, though, those iconic landscapes – vast savannahs, white sand beaches, snow-capped mountains – will be yours for the exploring.
Remember, many countries are still warning against all non-essential travel and some are quarantining all overseas arrivals, including their own returning citizens. Check all the relevant restrictions before you think about travelling.
When will we all be able to travel again? Here’s what we know so far.
Where can you go on holiday right now? These are all the countries that have already reopened their borders.