Kenya mulls review of charter flights incentive program to boost tourism

NAIROBI, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — The Kenyan government said Sunday it will review a charter incentives program to incorporate low-cost carriers and scheduled flights to boost tourist numbers into the country.

Joe Okudo, permanent secretary at the tourism ministry, said the number of charters has risen from one charter (Condor Airlines) to the current number of 10, boosting tourism business in the region that had recorded a drop as a result of negative travel advisories.

“This move would not only strengthen our destination’s brand visibility as a whole in the source markets but increase visitor number. It will allow us to venture into joint marketing initiatives with the airline operator and the travel agents’ consortia,” Okudo said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

The east African nation has stepped up its marketing blitz to woo key source markets in the wake of a drop in tourist arrivals occasioned by a spate of insecurity brought about by acts of terrorism from al-Shabab and travel advisories issued by countries that provide key source markets.

In the 2017/18 financial year, combined arrivals for July 1, 2017 to June 30 closed at 1.49 million, compared to 1.39 million in 2016/17, a growth of 6.8 percent, according to the ministry.

According to Okudo, the charter model now only works in eastern Europe and Nordic countries, leaving out other key tourist source markets for Kenya.

He said the number of charters are expected to increase toward the end of the year, expressing optimism that the revised program would see to an expansion to cover the other two international airports in the county for diverse tourism product experience.

The charter will fly Mombasa twice a week, translating to about 500 visitors to the Kenyan coast every week.

“Within the charter period (November to March, 2019), Kenya shall have received about 8,000 arrivals into Mombasa, a major boost to the tourist numbers into the region,” said Okudo.

According to the tourism ministry, Poland has continued to grow in market share of visitors into the country.

“Last year, we received 11,947 visitors from Poland up from 9,572 recorded in 2016, a 24.8 percent increase,” he said.

In the first eight months of the year, Kenya received 7,504 tourists from Poland, 10.6 percent more than the 6,782 recorded for the same period last year.

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