Ms Shazmin Manji, Chairperson, Kenya Association Of Travel Agents
Ms Shazmin Manji, Chairperson, Kenya Association Of Travel Agents. [Photo/ Courtesy]

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) held its 42nd Annual General Meeting on September 24, 2022, at the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi.

The event brought together the travel industry’s most senior leaders from among KATA’s member travel agencies, as well as leading corporate organizations and KATA’s strategic partners. The event was sponsored by Sabre Corporation, a leading travel technology company, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism and Kenya Airways.

While addressing the travel industry, KATA Chairperson Ms Shazmin Manji thanked the sponsors for partnering with KATA to make the event successful. She also lauded them for the role they have played in helping the travel industry build back sustainably.

“During this Financial Year (FY2021), we continued to ensure that the importance of a thriving and sustainable Travel Sector is understood and valued. We are proud to have continued to deliver for our members during these past challenging 12 months and we are determined to keep on delivering and building on our 42-year legacy,” Said Ms Shazmin Manji, Chairperson KATA.

“The travel industry is resilient. Passenger traffic has recovered – and in growing numbers, and our members’ businesses are rebounding. Both within our own businesses and across our sector, as well as across KATA, this has been a year of building back sustainably, a year of collaboration and pulling together for the greater good. It has been a year of precedent resulting in a robust marketplace growth.”

Ms Manji also expressed cautious optimism on the recovery of the travel industry in Kenya strongly citing the risk factors that might affect the gains made by the industry.

The impact of the w*r in Ukraine causes among the many other negative impacts for Kenya’s travel industry, rising fuel costs and a dampening travel demand due to lowered consumer sentiment.

The rising interest rate and exchange rate as the CBK works to combat inflation is harmful and has an economic dampening effect by reducing purchasing power. There is downside risk to this should inflation continue to rise, and CBK interest rates continue to hike.

Ms Manji also expressed her optimism that Kenya’s new leadership will have a positive impact on the inbound and Outbound tourism industry:

“We are also in a transition period to new national leadership in the country and we hope that this will not impact the travel industry adversely. This outlook notwithstanding, the desire to travel and the necessity of moving goods remain solid. Which is why as a travel trade we must take our lessons from Covid-19 and we must be clear with the government on what is needed from regulation,” said Ms Manji.

During the AGM, the industry players voted on all key resolutions that would see KATA strengthen its position as the leading voice of the travel industry. The General Meeting also approved the Association’s Audited Financial Statements for the fiscal year 2021. The General Meeting also approved the re-election of Mr Shilen Jobanputra and Ms Tracy Scott as Board Directors on a 2-year term. Mr Said Tahir was also elected to the Board of Directors.

While commenting on their partnership with the Kenya Association of Travel Agents, the event sponsors expressed their enthusiasm in working with KATA travel agents to rebuild Kenya’s travel industry to pre-p******c levels.

“We are proud to have partnered with KATA since 2017. Our partnership has mutually grown over the years with great benefits to both KATA and the UAE. We hope to continue sustaining this working partnership with KATA travel agents to not only grow destination Dubai but also grow the agents’ businesses,” said Stella Fubara, Regional Director International Operations – Africa at the Dubai Economy and Tourism. “We have also heard your concerns and challenges with visa’s to UAE for your clients and we shall share those concerns with our management to be addressed,” she added.

Sabre Corporation

“We wish to express special thanks to the Kenya Association of Travel Agents for this opportunity to introduce ourselves to the travel fraternity here in Kenya. We bring an innovative and comprehensive range of products that will enable travel companies to become more productive, efficient, and scalable. Our vision is to build a marketplace by connecting the world of travel through leading technologies, extensive distribution capabilities and sophisticated data insights. Our customers are our partners, and we are committed to providing them with the best in market customer service and support with our inhouse Helpdesk and Training facilities,” said Saby Morena, Chief Executive Officer, SABRON Tech Ltd – the distributor for Sabre in the East and Central Africa markets.

Kenya Airways

“We are delighted to be part of the KATA AGM. We have a long-standing relationship with KATA – our industry colleagues. Kenya Airways will continue working with KATA in close collaboration to address some of the challenges faced by the travel agents. We will continue to bring to you solutions that will aid the growth of your businesses including Air Charter Services, Rich content, new routes, and an increased seat capacity to destinations that the travel agents are selling,” said Rose Kiseli, General Manager, Kenya and North Africa, Kenya Airways.

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