IGO TRAVEL | 27 November 2017
From the basics like payment and hotel options to the requirements for doing business; their ‘on the ground’ tips will benefit travellers.
Spotlight on Kenya
Kenya has the 72nd-largest economy in the world and with a per capita GDP of around $1455 is one of the larger ones in sub-Saharan Africa.
75% of the population is employed in either the agriculture, forestry or the fishing industry but mining and industrial manufacturing are on the rise. Many travellers visit Kenya for the Maasai Mara and the annual migration; making tourism a large economic driver for the country. Kenya is also a major exporter of coffee and tea.
Business culture is traditional and formal and technological adoption is slow. Mpesa (a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service; launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania), however, is worth noting as a technology development from Kenya that has changed the way many Africans make payments.
Nairobi airport is a world-class facility that was recently rebuilt and is the main hub for Kenya Airways. Kenya is serviced by major airlines either daily or twice daily. British Airways, KLM, Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, SAA, Lufthansa, Air Mauritius, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian and more fly to the country.
There are various payment options other than Mpesa. The infrastructure is there, the banking system is very efficient, and the exchange controls are not too stringent, making card payments easy and feasible. Domestic airlines like Safari Link and Air Kenya are not often on the GDS so TMCs have difficulty in having multiple processes to service their customers. A challenge is traffic into and around major metro areas. It is therefore common practice to hire a car with a driver.
Safety in Nairobi is reasonably good due to the large NGO presence any incidents are widely reported to keep people abreast of situations. Travellers should remember that it is a legal requirement to carry an official form of identity on one’s person at all times.
Mary Wanjohi, Marketing and Communications Manager at Radisson Blu Hotel Nairobi Upper Hill, offers the following courtesy guidelines: