Kenya relies on charter flights to boost tourist arrivals



Kenya relies on charter flights to boost tourist arrivals

Kenya will rely on charter flights to boost tourist numbers during the difficult times of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a government official said on Saturday.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said charter flights to Kenya were receiving signals of growing confidence in the country’s tourism products and preparedness against COVID-19.

“I thank the marketers and travel agents who work tirelessly to bring visitors to Kenya. I assure you of the government’s support, we must all work together to fully revive the sector, ”Balala said in a statement issued in Mombasa after receiving the very first flight from Ukraine to Kenya.

The flight operated by Bees Airline, a Ukrainian charter operator and marketed by Travel Professional Group (TPG), landed in Kenya, carrying 189 visitors from Ukraine.

Of the 189 passengers on the flight, 21 were travel agents who traveled to learn about the products and to sample Kenyan tourism products and offers in order to sell the destination to consumers in their country.

Balala said the flight was a testament to Kenya’s progress in markets that are not considered traditional source markets for Kenya tourism.

He noted that the tourist products of the destination correspond well to the needs of consumers in the Eastern European region.

“I am happy to see the progress we are making as a destination to attract tourists from different markets,” said Balala.

Kenya last month received Romania‘s first-ever charter to Kenya carrying 200 visitors, the official said, noting that the flight had five rotations around the country and another scheduled for later this month.

“We need to make sure that we explore all available markets and tap into them. This is all the more important now that there is less travel around the world, ”said Balala.

He welcomed visitors, noting that the flight had come at an important time and gave hope for the resumption of tourism in Kenya which had been severely affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Balala said the Ukrainian market presents an opportunity to promote beach and wildlife products that resonate well with the country’s consumers.

The number of arrivals from Ukraine has increased in recent years, with Kenya receiving 1,523 visitors in 2017 and 1,892 visitors in 2019.

Currently, there is a great opportunity to increase the numbers through charters, especially given the difficult environment created by the pandemic, Balala said. (Xinhua / NAN)


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