KENYA’S TOURISM CABINET SECRETARY SAYS QATAR AIRWAYS FLIGHTS TO MOMBASA COULD START AS EARLY AS JANUARY
(Posted 12th October 2016)
With Kenya’s premier international tourism trade show now underway has Tourism Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala dropped the clearest hint yet that Qatar Airways – he visited the company’s head office two weeks ago during a tour to promote Kenya as a preferred destination – will be given the long awaited traffic rights for flights into Mombasa.
QR Group Chief Executive Mr. Akbar Al Baker told this correspondent during the launch of the Airbus A350XWB in Doha earlier last year that his company was still having a keen interest in serving one of East Africa’s great tourism and trade destinations but that traffic right issues had held up the launch of the route.
Local tourism stakeholders, among them Kenya Coast Tourism Association Chairman Mohammed Hersi, have time and again echoed this correspondent’s sentiments that the Kenyan government needed to make a political decision on granting not just Qatar Airways but other scheduled carriers too access to the Kenya coast. Given that nearby Zanzibar receives at least twice as many scheduled flights from foreign carriers compared to Mombasa while at the same time also outperforming the Kenyan port city in terms of charter arrivals, is such a decision now long overdue.
Less than hoped for charter carriers from various European countries, reportedly none from the UK as yet, have taken advantage of Kenya’s aviation incentive regime the government put into place earlier in the year. While arrivals year on year rose by 15 percent were higher percentages hoped for by coast hoteliers in particular.
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