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Low Cost Carriers in Africa to be enticed to fly into Kenya through the CIP

Scheduled flights and International Low Cost Carriers (LCC) from the African continent could soon be enticed to start benefiting from the ambitious Charter Incentive Program (CIP) launched by the Government in 2016.

A review of the CIP which has since been extended to 2022 by Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala is ongoing.

In a statement, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) CEO and Managing Director, Dr Betty Radier said that following the debuting of Qatar Airways into Mombasa, they have now gotten impetus to look into more ways of enticing both charters and scheduled flights into the country.

”We hope to achieve this once we complete on our review of the CIP to encompass the LCCs and scheduled flights,” she said.

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Radier added that currently, the charter models only works in Eastern Europe and Nordic countries leaving out other key tourist sources markets for Kenya.

At the same time, KTB is reporting a rebound in tourism business with Qatar Airways launching its direct flight to Moi International Airport Mombasa with approximately 500 passengers every week.

The award winning airline inaugural flight last Sunday was   an Airbus A320 aircraft, which features 12 Business Class seats and 120 seats in Economy Class today (Sunday) touched down at Mombasa with about 150 visitors on board, heralding another good season for the sector over the festive season.

Qatar Airways will be operating four weekly flights (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) to Mombasa and this will bring to a total of 25 weekly flights between Doha and Kenya.

Radier said the direct flight was not only an endorsement of the destination but a vote of confidence on the Kenyan coast that had suffered a drop in arrivals.

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“This is good news for the sector and together with the private sector, KTB will look into ways of partnering with Qatar airways as well as other aircrafts to increase passenger numbers into the route,” said Dr. Radier.

For the past nine months, she noted, the sector has recorded 7.8% growth in arrivals of by air and sea for the period indicating with 777,791 arrivals up from 723,174 visitors the same period in 2017.

Dr Radier disclosed that arrivals through Moi International Airport Mombasa (MIAM) has improved for last nine months with 84,286 visitors up from 57,588 arrivals in the same period last year, a 46% growth.

With Qatar inaugural, Kenya is set to receive visitors mainly from her key European tourist source markets such as Italy, Germany, UK, and France. US is also key to this airline. Other markets include Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and Austria.

USA, the top performing market for example, has posted a 6% increase in arrivals for the last nine months (Jan-September) compared with the same period last year with 95,234 visitors up from 89,866 recorded last year

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UK, the second top performing market on the other hand, has received an increase of 4.5% arrivals in the last nine (9) months with 82,509 visitors up from 78,930 for a period Jan-September last year.

Germany has recorded a 17.3% growth with 79,972 visitors (Jan-September) up from 34,050 arrivals, same period last year.

France within the same review period posted an increase of visitors to 20,248 up from 16,403 same period last year, indicating a 23.4% growth.

Italy on the other hand recorded a 30.8% increase with arrivals shooting up to 40,218 from 30,740 in the same period last year.

The KTB CEO said there were more prospect from the market with the direct flight to Mombasa that will ease access to the beach product and other experiences.

SEE ALSO :SGR contractor drills longest railway tunnel in east Africa

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