TOURISM BOOST

Mombasa receives another 180 visitors from Ukraine

This was the second plane in 10 days after the first one arrived on April 17 with 189 tourists onboard

In Summary

• Coastal city expected to sign a couple of agreements with other world cities as it strives to diversify its tourism products to include business and sports.

• County tourism chief officer Aisha Abdi says such deals would not only benefit Mombasa but the entire Coast region as tourists explore different sites.

Mombasa on Monday received another batch of visitors from Ukraine, marking a boost to a tourism sector left in ruins by the Covid crisis.

The 180 tourists arrived at the Moi International Airport in the second rotation of the Bees Airline chartered plane. This was the second plane in 10 days after the first one made its maiden arrival in the country on April 17 with 189 tourists onboard.

Mombasa is expected to sign a couple of agreements with other world cities as it strives to diversify its tourism products to include business and sports.

The influx of tourists from Ukraine has been made possible through an MoU between Mombasa county and the Ukrainian tourist city of Odessa, through the Sister Cities programme.

A delegation of tour operators and travel agents from Odessa was in the country last year March on a familiarisation visit to Mombasa as a tourist destination.

The meeting culminated in an agreement that would see the Bees Airline chattered planes make 10 rotations in the country from April to September this year.

County Tourism chief officer Aisha Abdi said the agreement would not only benefit Mombasa but the entire Coast region as tourists explore different sites.

“We know that the industry has been hard hit by the pandemic and we are working hard to revive the sector,” Abdi said.

Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi, who was at the airport to receive the visitors, said more tourists are expected by September.

“This is a good sign that tourism is picking up amidst the pandemic; we are working towards getting more planes to come in for the remaining rotations even as we explore partnerships with other cities in the world,” Kingi said.

Talks are ongoing to form the Mombasa Tourism Board, a move expected to boost tourism in the county.

“This is a great move that we are pursuing as discussions with different stakeholders are going on. Mombasa is a world tourist destination and it will be wise to have a board exclusively focusing on the city,” he said.

Tourism stakeholders in the county welcomed the move, saying it will open up Mombasa for more tourism opportunities.

Led by Kenya Coast Tourism Association chief executive Julius Owino, they said devolving the board to counties will play a pivotal role in strategising specific ways of marketing the county.

Owino said the move was well thought out; hence having a board specifically for Mombasa will enable the coastal city to create more opportunities.

 

Edited by Kiilu Damaris