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November 14, 2018

Service key to Africa’s tourism sector - Balala

Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala during the 6th Africa’s Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) Conference at Whitesands Hotel. /JOHN CHESOLI
Tourism Cabinet secretary Najib Balala during the 6th Africa’s Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO) Conference at Whitesands Hotel. /JOHN CHESOLI

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said poor services by African airlines and at airports keep away travellers

He said out of more than 1.4 billion world travellers annually, only 60 million come to Africa, which can be attributed to the poor services by airlines and at airports.

Balala said the frustrations by security and immigration officers  at Airports in Africa also contribute to the poor performance of Africa's aviation industry

Speaking on Tuesday at the opening of the Africa Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation Conference in Mombasa, he said African airports should strive to achieve the status of Singapore and Dubai airports.

 “Quite a number of airports in Africa are not up to standard. The frustrations of every client coming through our airport might make them not come back again,” said Balala.

He said in leading world airports travellers take ten minutes from the moment the plane lands to the moment they are on their way to their hotels.

“Why do we take two hours, from the moment an airline lands in Africa to the minute we depart to go to our hotels? Those are the frustrations our visitors are experiencing,” he said.

“If the airport immigration officer is going to ask so many questions, frustrating and harassing the client, that is one reason the visitor will never come again to that country. Yes, we need to take care of security, but not frustrate the client.”

The CS said service providers in the African airports further contributed to the agony of travellers  because of their substandard services.

“Sometimes you might see the big international names coming to African airports, but the standard of their ground handler in Mombasa or Nairobi are different from those at Dubai or Heathrow airports,” said Balala.

He said Kenya is working on resolving such problems at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport which through a multi pronged approach.

“We took a strategic position, we formed a coalition between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Transport. We have brought together the security, customs and ground handlers to work under one command,” he said.

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