- Taita Taveta Governor Mwadime said this will boost tourism sector, one of the main tourist attractions, owing to its proximity to the Tsavo National Park.
- Veteran coast hotelier Mohammed Hersi praised the government for the new directive, saying that it will play a big role in the growth of businesses.
The introduction of Voi Railway Station as a new stopover for the Mombasa/Nairobi Madaraka Express passenger train is expected to boosting business and tourism in Taita Taveta county.
On Friday, Kenya Railways announced passengers will be able to go to Voi or leave Voi in the afternoon aboard the Passenger Service train as of February 1.
“The Mombasa to Nairobi afternoon express train will arrive at Voi station at 4.38pm and depart at 4.43pm while the Nairobi to Mombasa afternoon express train will arrive at Voiat 6.46pm and depart at 6.53 pm,” a notice by Kenya Railways reads.
The announcement comes as a reprieve since local leaders and business people have been pushing for the introduction of afternoon stopover trains at the Voi and Mtito Andei stations.
Taita Taveta Governor Andrew Mwadime said this will be a major boost to the tourism sector in the county, which is one of the main tourist attractions in Kenya, owing to its proximity to Tsavo National Park.
“We wish to thank the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works through Kenya Railways for honouring our request to have Madaraka Express passenger trains make stopovers at the Voi station,” Mwadime said on Saturday.
He said the number of visitors coming to the county will increase tremendously, boosting the economy.
Mwadime said his administration is keen to tap the unexploited county’s tourism markets to attract more domestic and international travellers.
Further, the county also aims to strengthen tourism in the region by promoting domestic tourism to increase revenue.
The governor said the region has a lot of untapped tourism potential due to its location and proximity to the expansive twin-Tsavo National Parks.
“Taita Taveta is also the home to Vuria Hill; the highest peak in the coastal region and closest to the highest peak in Africa to Mt Kilimanjaro,” he said
The county also takes pride takes in battlefield tourism in World War 1 historic sites.
He said Vuria Hill is one of the preferred hiking and camping sites in the Coastal region.
“People will be able to travel to Nairobi and Mombasa and come back the same day. Further, we expect the number of tourists to increase,” Livingstone Mghenyi, the Kenya Domestic Tourism Association chairman said.
Mghenyi said the decision has come at the right time as the association is planning to move its headquarters to the county.
"Plans are underway to move our head office to this region. This is aimed at promoting and entrenching a culture of domestic travel among Kenyans,” Mghenyi told the Star.
Veteran coast hotelier Mohammed Hersi praised the government for the new directive, saying it will play a role in the growth of businesses.
“This will go a long way to help tourism in Taita Taveta and the Tsavo ecosystem. What about my people in Taita Taveta coming home for the weekend and avoiding driving,” Hersi wrote on his official Facebook page.
(Edited by V. Graham)