Kenya Opens its Doors: No More Visas for Global Visitors from 2024

Kenya Opens its Doors: No More Visas for Global Visitors from 2024

By Author

Published on December 15, 2023

Kenyan President William Ruto declared a significant change in the country's travel policies, announcing that starting January 2024, visitors from around the world will no longer need a visa to enter Kenya. This move positions Kenya as the fourth African nation to eliminate visa requirements, joining the ranks of the Gambia, Benin, and Seychelles.

President Ruto emphasized the government's commitment to simplifying travel processes by introducing a digital platform. This platform ensures that all visitors receive electronic travel authorization in advance, eliminating the need for traditional visa applications.

The president, advocating for borderless travel within Africa, highlighted the barriers created by visa requirements and high airfares, especially for African passport holders. This change aligns with Kenya's vision of fostering continental integration and supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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Kenya's tourism industry, a crucial driver of its economy, stands to benefit from this policy shift. President Ruto expressed the nation's welcoming stance, stating, "Kenya has a simple message to humanity: Welcome Home!"

This strategic move follows the successful launches of similar visa-free initiatives in Bangalore and Mumbai, marking Kenya's third experience center in the past two years. The LIXIL Experience Center, situated near Aerocity in Delhi, aims to revolutionize the consumer journey in luxury bathroom design. The center provides a hands-on experience for customers to explore combinations, textures, and styles, aligning with LIXIL's mission of making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere.

The center's inauguration marks a significant step in expanding LIXIL's footprint, creating immersive spaces that offer memorable and insightful experiences for architects, designers, builders, and consumers. With a commitment to design, innovation, and technology, LIXIL plans to continue delighting patrons with more experiential spaces across the country.

Visitors to Kenya can look forward to a seamless and visa-free entry, making it easier for global travelers to explore the diverse offerings of this East African nation. The removal of visa barriers reflects Kenya's dedication to fostering international connections and boosting its tourism sector.

As Kenya opens its doors to the world, President Ruto envisions a future where travel is not hindered by borders, enabling the free flow of goods, services, people, and ideas across the continent. This move aligns with the African Union's efforts to encourage more African countries to eliminate travel barriers, supporting the vision of a united and integrated Africa.

Kenya's decision to scrap visas for global visitors signifies a bold step toward promoting inclusivity, accessibility, and connectivity. As the country embraces a visa-free regime, it sends a powerful message of welcome and openness to the global community, inviting travelers to experience the beauty and hospitality of Kenya without bureaucratic hurdles.


Hilton Unveils Ambitious Plan to Double Lifestyle Hotel Presence by 2028

Hilton Unveils Ambitious Plan to Double Lifestyle Hotel Presence by 2028

By Nishang Narayan

Published on June 5, 2024

Hilton, a global leader in hospitality, has set forth an ambitious plan to significantly expand its footprint in the lifestyle hotel segment, aiming to double its presence by adding 350 properties within the next four years. This strategic move comes in response to the company's recent acquisitions and the growing demand for lifestyle accommodations.

Hilton's expansion strategy is fueled by recent acquisitions and partnerships that have positioned the company for substantial growth in the lifestyle hotel category. Earlier this year, Hilton acquired a controlling interest in the Sydell Group, a move aimed at expanding the globally renowned NoMad luxury lifestyle brand. Additionally, the company sealed a $210 million agreement with AJ Capital to acquire the Graduate Hotels brand, which boasts over 35 properties worldwide.

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In line with its aggressive growth strategy, Hilton aims to open more than 100 new lifestyle hotels this year alone, marking the debut of its 400th property in this category. This follows the addition of over 50 new lifestyle hotels last year and the approval of another 100 properties.

Key Brands Driving Growth

Hilton's portfolio of lifestyle brands, including Canopy by Hilton, Graduate by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, Curio Collection by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, and Tempo by Hilton, are poised for significant expansion in the coming years.

  • Canopy by Hilton: The brand has launched its first resort property in Seychelles and has signed six new hotels in the first quarter of the year, expanding into Greece, Malta, and soon Japan.

  • Curio Collection by Hilton: With a presence in 40 countries by mid-2024, the brand plans to open nearly 30 new properties this year, including the Keight Hotel Opatija in Croatia.

  • Motto by Hilton: Set to reach ten countries by 2026, the brand has upcoming openings in Hong Kong and Bentonville, Arkansas.

  • Tapestry Collection by Hilton: Expanding into markets such as Thailand, Paraguay, and Türkiye, with the first Hilton in Bermuda set to open later this year as Bermudiana Beach Resort.

  • Tempo by Hilton: Expected to have around 30 hotels open by 2026, with new openings in Times Square, New York City, and Nashville.

To spearhead the growth and development of its lifestyle brands, Hilton has appointed Kevin Osterhaus as the president of global lifestyle brands. Osterhaus will oversee the expansion, design, and development of brands within the lifestyle segment.

Kevin Jacobs, Hilton's chief financial officer and global development president, expressed excitement about the company's growth prospects in the lifestyle segment. He emphasised Hilton's commitment to meeting the evolving needs of developers and guests worldwide, ensuring that the brand remains at the forefront of the hospitality industry.

With its strategic acquisitions, robust expansion plans, and strong brand portfolio, Hilton is poised to redefine the lifestyle hotel experience and capture new markets around the globe.

For more information about Hilton and its lifestyle brands, visit Hilton's official website.


Jetwing Hotels Boosts Solar Power Investment for Greener Operations

Jetwing Hotels Boosts Solar Power Investment for Greener Operations

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on May 16, 2024

Jetwing Hotels, a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s hospitality sector for over five decades, is spearheading a green revolution in the industry with its latest investment in renewable energy. With a commitment exceeding USD 1 million, Jetwing is set to expand its solar photovoltaic (PV) installations by 1.6 megawatts (MW) by July 2024, marking a significant leap towards a more sustainable future.

Jetwing’s journey towards sustainability began over a decade ago, with the installation of a 20-kilowatt (kW) solar PV system at Jetwing Blue in Negombo. Since then, the brand has strategically implemented solar PV systems totaling 925kW across its properties, alongside a 40kW system at its corporate office in Colombo. In 2023, Jetwing Hotels generated over 1,000-megawatt hours (MWh) of solar energy, equivalent to powering more than 13,000 households and mitigating 608 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

The forthcoming expansion represents a significant milestone for Jetwing Hotels, aiming to triple its current solar power contribution and cover 24% of its total electricity usage. Embracing innovation, certain properties will integrate PV systems into car park roof structures, maximizing space utilization and energy efficiency. Moreover, surplus energy will be exported to the national grid, further reducing reliance on non-renewable sources.

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Jetwing Safari Camp, situated near Yala National Park, will lead by example with a 120kW roof-mount solar PV system, significantly reducing its carbon footprint. This initiative underscores Jetwing Hotels’ proactive approach to environmental stewardship, aligning with Sri Lanka’s ambitious goals of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Recognition from the Green Building Council of Sri Lanka highlights Jetwing Hotels’ commitment to sustainability, reinforcing its position as a trailblazer in sustainable tourism. With a legacy spanning over half a century, Jetwing Hotels continues to redefine luxury hospitality while championing responsible tourism practices. Through ongoing initiatives focused on community empowerment, environmental conservation, and resource efficiency, Jetwing Hotels remains dedicated to shaping a vibrant and sustainable future for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.


Atmosphere Core Introduces Raaya to Expand Maldives Portfolio

Atmosphere Core Introduces Raaya to Expand Maldives Portfolio

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on March 28, 2024

Atmosphere Core, a renowned international hospitality company, is set to broaden its presence in South Asia with the addition of Kudakurathu island in Raa Atoll, Maldives, to its management portfolio. The island, soon to be rebranded as 'RAAYA BY ATMOSPHERE,' is scheduled to open its doors on July 4, 2024, marking the third Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts property in the Maldives and the ninth globally.

Since its inception in December 2013, Atmosphere Core has been synonymous with exceptional service, innovative culinary concepts, and groundbreaking experiences, establishing its properties as premier choices in the Maldivian hospitality sector.

Salil Panigrahi, Managing Director of Atmosphere Core, expressed excitement about the expansion, stating, “By adding ‘RAAYA BY ATMOSPHERE’ to our growing Maldives portfolio, we aim to further enhance our brand position of ‘…A New Experience Awaits’. Our goal is to provide guests with curated experiences through our signature RAAYA™ Holiday Plan, ensuring unparalleled service at every touchpoint.”

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Accessible via a 45-minute seaplane flight from Velana International Airport, 'RAAYA BY ATMOSPHERE' is a sanctuary nestled amidst lush greenery, with 88 percent of its expanse dedicated to nature. The resort boasts 167 beach and ocean villas, six diverse dining options, and an array of recreational activities, including water sports, diving, and a kids club, offering guests a memorable escape enriched by the vibrant local culture.

Mr. Ranjit Batra, President, Hospitality of Kudakurathu Island Resort Pvt. Ltd., shared his enthusiasm, stating, “Kudakurathu is a captivating island that combines the untouched beauty of the Maldives with innovative design, creating a distinctive destination.”

With this expansion, Atmosphere Core continues its commitment to delivering exceptional hospitality experiences and creating unforgettable memories for guests in the Maldives and beyond.

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