Kenya expects 20 pc jump in guest numbers

Tourism CS says Kenya expects to receive 20 per cent more foreign guests from mid-July.

Thursday March 10 2016

Tourists arriving in Mombasa by Neosair from Italy. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the country is expected to receive 20 per cent more foreign guests when the season begins in mid-July, with the climax of the peak season to be felt in December. PHOTO | MATHIAS RINGA |

Tourists arriving in Mombasa by Neosair from Italy. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the country is expected to receive 20 per cent more foreign guests when the season begins in mid-July, with the climax of the peak season to be felt in December. PHOTO | MATHIAS RINGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By MATHIAS RINGA
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BERLIN

Kenya is looking forward to receiving more international visitors in the coming high tourist season, following successful talks between the government and European source markets.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the country is expected to receive 20 per cent more foreign guests when the season begins in mid-July, with the climax of the peak season to be felt in December.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation on the sidelines of the International Tourism Bourse travel trade fair, which began on Wednesday in Berlin, Mr Balala said he expects more German holidaymakers to visit Kenya in the coming season.

Since January, he said, officials have held negotiations with leading tour operators and travel agents from the traditional markets of the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France and Spain to woo back more international holidaymakers.

“We told them about the Sh1.2 billion charter incentive programme, the reduction of park entry fees from $90 to $60 per visitor, the waiving of visa fee for children below 16, among others.”

“Tour operators from the European markets have responded positively by promising to bring more holidaymakers in the coming high season,” said Mr Balala.

ITALIAN FLIGHTS

He said on Monday that the government signed a contract with an Italian charter airline Meridiana Fly, to take tourists to Mombasa, while in return, the carrier would enjoy incentives that were launched last year.

In the deal, Meridiana will be flying 80 per cent of its passengers to Mombasa when the high season begins, thereby enjoying a $30 (Sh3,000) subsidy for every passenger who terminates at the Moi International Airport.

The CS said he expected more airlines from Italy to follow suit, following negotiations with Italian charter airline executives, tour operators and travel agents on Monday.

“Following the UK government’s lifting of travel advisories last year against coastal resort towns of Mombasa, Diani and Malindi, we have received positive support from British tour operators and travel agents,” he said.

“From July to December, we expect to receive more British tourists as there are some airlines which will be ferrying holidaymakers to Nairobi and Mombasa,” he said.

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