POST COVID

Tourism players laud various recovery strategies by airlines

The sector is among the most hit by the coronavirus pandemic as a result of various measures adopted to slow the spread of the virus

In Summary
  • According to Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) National chairman, Mohamed Hersi the transport sector is a major part of tourism therefore he termed the move by the various transport players especially air as ‘excellence’.
  • In a recent survey, 65 per cent of travellers are willing to travel again domestically, compared to 34 per cent regionally and 25 per cent internationally.
Transport CS James Macharia flags off the Skyward Express flight to Malindi
Transport CS James Macharia flags off the Skyward Express flight to Malindi
Image: COURTESY

Tourism industry players have welcomed the expansion of local routes by various airlines saying this will promote domestic tourism

Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) National chairman, Mohamed Hersi said the transport sector plays a key role in tourism.

“Connecting people directly to towns such as Malindi and Diani is an excellent move as it makes travelling easier,” said Hersi.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer, Sam Ikwaye said the route expansion shows there is  demand and an indicator tourism is recovering.

“Towns such as Malindi and Ukunda where most airlines are launching to will now have better business as they get direct flights,” said Ikwaye.

The transport sector is a major part of tourism therefore the various recovery moves are excellent
Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) National chairman, Mohamed Hersi

Ikwaye said the industry is looking forward to the full resumption of international travel even as local tourism picks up.

Last week, Skyward Express launched daily flights from Wilson Airport to Lamu via Malindi.

This brings the carrier's routes to six, adding to Eldoret, Lamu, Lodwar, Mombasa, and Ukunda.

Return tickets between Wilson-Malindi will cost Sh4,950 with Malindi-Lamu going for Sh3,000.

"The opening of the Malindi route completes an important piece for Skyward Express’s network, cementing its position as one of the leading local carriers," management said. 

“The Government welcomes this development as additional flights to local destinations will support the growth of local tourism whilst international passenger travel remains subdued,” said

Transport CS James Macharia said the government welcomes additional flights to local destinations as it will support the growth of local tourism.

In October 2020, low-cost carrier Jambojet commenced direct flights from Mombasa to Kisumu and Eldoret, offering direct air connections  between the coastal and lake town.

It is also an instalment payment to boost uptake of air travel amid an economy depressed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jambojet flies to and from  Nairobi, Mombasa, Diani, Malindi, Kisumu, and Eldoret.

In December 2020, Fly540 started direct flights to Ukunda from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport , increasing competition on the route that was served by Safarilink and Jambojet.

In a survey commissioned by The National Tourism Crisis Steering Committee and the Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA), 65 per cent of travellers are willing to travel again domestically, compared to 34 per cent regionally and 25 per cent internationally.

The sector is a leading foreign exchange earner for Kenya, with sector earnings reaching Sh163.5 billion in 2019, according to data by the ministry.