- The first three months this year witnessed a 20% increase in arrivals from the Middle East, totaling 4,070 compared to the same period last year.
- KTB further aims to expand the market by an ambitious 30% by June 2024.
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is looking towards an increased number of tourists from the Middle East following the recently launched Mombasa-Dubai direct flights.
The board says it seeks to leverage direct flights to tap into the growing potential of the Middle-East market to boost the country's tourism.
"With the market showing immense growth potential, the period from January to March this year witnessed a 20 per cent increase in arrivals, totaling 4,070 compared to the same period last year, which saw 3,328 arrivals," KTB says.
"Building on this, we further aim to expand the Middle-East market by an ambitious 30 per cent by June 2024."
KTB Director Victor Shitakha said the Middle East market holds significant potential for the tourism sector, highlighting one of the reasons behind the focus on the market.
"It is a high-spending market, and Kenya's proximity to the Middle East, with a short-haul flight duration of just five hours, makes it an easily accessible destination," Shitakha said.
He added that Kenya Airways operates direct flights connecting Dubai and Mombasa four times a week, ensuring convenience and seamless travel experiences.
He was speaking during a familiarisation trip to the coastal region of Kenya for a group of travel agents from the Middle East.
The initiative is a direct response to the increasing demand for leisure travel on the newly launched flight route.
Shitakha further emphasized the alignment of Kenya's tourism offerings with the preferences of Middle-Eastern travelers, including leisure-city breaks, adventure, wildlife and safari, business and visiting friends and relatives.
“KTB values its partnerships with travel agencies and is committed to exploring further avenues for growth and development as we aim to position Kenya as the ultimate destination of choice for travelers," he said.
On her part, Kenya Airways sales executive Peninah Nyokabi reiterated the tremendous demand for travel to the coastal region by the Middle East market.
"Previously, the travel agents used to sell Mombasa via Nairobi, but with the introduction of direct flights to Mombasa, we are confident that it will significantly boost travel into these destinations," Nyokabi said.
"The Familiarisation trip was specifically designed to enhance the knowledge of the travel agents about the attractions and experiences available in the country. This first-hand experience will enable them to better showcase and sell the unique offerings of the region to their clients."
As part of its strategy, the board underscores the importance of collaborative efforts between Kenyan tour operators and their Middle-Eastern counterparts in crafting exciting packages across all market segments.
It notes that the development of the country's distribution channels through strong and effective partnerships will enhance the awareness of Kenya's brand and drive increased sales conversions during prime travel periods.