The government will next month increase Madaraka Express frequencies between Mombasa and Nairobi to create room for more travellers.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said that starting in July, three Madaraka Express trains will be transporting passengers to Nairobi and another three will ferry passengers to Mombasa daily.
Increasing the number of trains from two to six, he said, is a response to huge passenger demand with people from Nairobi travelling by rail to Mombasa for holiday.
Speaking at Diani Reef Beach Resort in Kwale on Thursday, Mr Balala added that following the introduction of the passenger trains, hotels in Mombasa had been experiencing a rise in domestic tourists.
He said the first train, which will make stopovers at various stations, will depart from Mombasa at 8am, while the second one departing at 9am will travel non-stop.
Mr Balala explained that the third train, which will also not make any stopovers, will depart from Mombasa at 3pm.
Trains from Nairobi to Mombasa will also depart at similar intervals.
“It has come to our understanding that many travellers have been missing the opportunity to travel by rail. Some groups of tourists have been unable to travel to Mombasa due to limited seats,” he said.
The Cabinet secretary said the change will boost tourism in Mombasa and Nairobi and help the government’s efforts to revive the industry.
On transport crisis in the South Coast, Mr Balala explained that a planned bridge between Mombasa island and Likoni will solve the problem.
He said two new ferries, which are being built in Turkey, will only ease congestion but will not address all challenges faced by travellers in the channel.
“The major challenge crippling tourism in the South Coast is transport in the Likoni channel. The solution is for the government to build a bridge,” he said.
Mr Balala noted that the Dongo Kundu bypass project is almost complete and would address transport problems between Mombasa and Kwale counties.
Meanwhile, Mr Balala announced that only tour companies with a minimum of two vehicles will be issued with licenses to transport tourists to national parks.
He said tour firms with only one vehicle will be denied licences.
The new policy, he said, is aimed at getting rid of individuals who operate tour businesses illegally.
“We want to improve standards in the transportation of tourists to the national parks and game reserves. In this way, we shall attract more safari seekers,” he added.