Boost to sector as over 160 tourists arrive in Mombasa

Monday, January 31st, 2022 (People Daily Digital). Kenya’s tourism sector has received a major boost after the first chartered flight from Bulgaria landed at the Moi International Airport (MIA) in Mombasa.

The charter flight which flew in over 160 Bulgaria tourists for a 10-day holiday is an indication of the continued recovery for the ailing international tourism market source that has slumped since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking in Mombasa after receiving the aircraft, operated by European Air, landed yesterday morning, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Marketing director Fred Okeyo said the flight arrival signalled hope for Kenyan tourism, which has suffered heavily due to the pandemic.

“The new charter from Bulgaria has shown confidence with Kenya at a time that this sector is recovering, for us we want to assure our tourists that we are ready for attracting many guests,” he said.
Foreign nationals

Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Dr Virander Paul during the country’s Republic Day celebrations at his official India House residence on January 26, 2022

The arrival happened even as French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs issued a security advisory January 27, warning of a terror threat facing Western nationals in Kenya. He stated that public spaces frequented by foreign nationals are notably at risk, including restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues, and shopping centers, particularly in Nairobi.

The alert also advised individuals in Kenya to remain extremely vigilant and avoid the public areas in the coming days, including over the January 29 to 30 weekend. Bulgaria is the latest European market following a significant growing interest in Kenyans tourism products. The second charter flight will come in on February 26, 2022 in the new rotational charter programme.

“We trust that they are going to be very good ambassadors in their country, and we are happy as a destination that we will continue to get more tourists from Bulgaria,” added Okeyo. Pollmans Tours and Safaris Group operations director Mohamed Hersi said Kenya is now looking to tap onto the Bulgarian market that has proven to be a potential market source that has remained untapped.

“We are asking the government to really support the chartered flights that are landing in Mombasa, owing to infrastructure investment the government has put into refurbishing the airport,” he said.

Over 60 major Indian companies have invested in among other sectors manufacturing, real estate, pharmaceuticals, telecom, IT and Information Technology Enabled Services, banking and agro-based industries.

Before Covid-19 outbreak — in 2018-19 — bilateral trade was $2.2 billion, which has dropped to $2 billion last year.

Main Indian exports to Kenya include petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, steel products, machinery, yarn, vehicles and power transmission equipment.

On the other hand, the main Kenyan exports to India include soda ash, vegetables, tea, leather and metal scrap.

The High Commissioner said India is actively involved in Kenya’s Big Four agenda noting that they have assisted in upgrading of the Rivatex factory in Eldoret, creating two thousand direct and thousands of indirect jobs.

“We would look forward to more such mutually agreed opportunities,” he said.

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