Tour firm Express Travel rebrands to Hemingways

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By VINCENT OWINO

Express Travel Group has rebranded into Hemingways Travel as the 65-year-old firm seeks to harness new opportunities in the growing luxury tourism sector in East Africa and the continent.

The Nairobi-based company, acquired by Hemingways Group – a Kenyan hospitality firm – in 2009, has now rebranded, aligning itself with the Hemingways brand as its travel division, with operations in the entire continent.

The company attributed its rebranding to the need to adjust in response to the growing tourism sector. The global luxury leisure travel market is projected to grow by 11.1 percent annually for the next six years, reaching $1.2 trillion by 2027, according to Allied Market Research.

“We are now expanding our proposition to leisure travellers by offering a full suite of premium travel services and the valuable benefits of using an experienced travel agent,” said Hemingways Group CEO Ross Evans.

Mr Evans also launched a new online booking platform, which, he said, will help boost customer base and presence in the continent while “remaining very focused on delivering for our corporate clients.”

Najib Balala, Kenya’s Tourism Secretary, said the rebrand and new platform were necessary, citing technology and innovation as what got the tourism sector through the depression period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“New products and experiences are encouraged in the Kenyan tourism sector to enable it to flourish, as governments continue to enhance connectivity across the region,” said Mr Balala.

Hemingway Travel managing director Dr Joseph Kithitu said the new platform would enhance customer experience and benefit from Hemingway’s economies of scale, enabling the firm to offer services at relatively lower prices.

“The booking platform integrates third-party tools to bring unrivalled flight and hotel content to customers and a smooth and convenient booking experience, all supported by an experienced team of qualified travel consultants,” Dr Kithitu said.

Agnes Mucuha, the Kenya Association of Travel Agents CEO, noted that local tourists boosted the industry during the pandemic slump, adding that lower prices would appeal to domestic consumers.