Travel/ tourism is one of the largest and strongest pillars of the modern economy, globally.
In Kenya, according to the Tourism Research Institute, the sector is a major economic contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 10.4% and directly employs 990,000 jobs (KTSA2019). The sector is also instrumental in the social-economic well being of the country’s citizens, with multiplier effects in trade, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and transport among others.
As part of the series of events to launch the Mombasa- Dubai route, National carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) hosted tourism and travel stakeholders at the JW Marriott Hotel in Dubai to celebrate the inaugural flight from Dubai to Mombasa. In attendance was the Kenyan Ambassador to the UAE republic, H.E. Kariuki Mugwe, Kenya Airways Chief Financial Officer Hellen Mathuka, Members of the Transport and Infrastructure committee from Kenya Parliament, various stakeholders amongst them leading travel and tour operators from Mombasa and Dubai, and many others.
Mombasa and adjacent townships receive over one third of international tourist arrivals to Kenya. By connecting Dubai to Mombasa directly, the travel time is effectively reduced thereby making Kenya the most attractive destination for Middle East holiday seekers.
According to the Kenyan Tourism and Wildlife Ministry strategy report for 2021- 2025, Kenya is working on building on four key coastal zones: a multi-experience itineraries in Mombasa, eco-friendly exclusive and secluded getaways in Lamu, adventure sporting in Malindi/ Watamu and family friendly, multi-entertainment offers in Diani.
The first Kenya Airways Dubai-Mombasa direct flight touched down at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa at 11. 20 am on Friday morning. On hand to welcome the tourists on board upon arrival was the Principal Secretary, State Department for Tourism, John Ololtuaa, Principal Secretary State Department of Culture & Heritage, Ummi Bashir, management and staff of Kenya Airport Authority, Kenya Airways, Mombasa County and various other stakeholders.
The direct flight is a deliberate move to position Kenya for in-bound arrivals from United Arab Emirates (UAE) market both for leisure and business opportunities. In 2021, the country received close to 11,000 tourists from the Middle East, an increase from previous years.
The new route will not only position Mombasa as an important global tourism hub, but also connect Kenya and the UAE for tighter relations as we open up new opportunities for tourism, trade, and business
Earlier on, Kenya Airways Chief Commercial and Customer Officer, Julius Thairu said, ” As players within the industry, we want to ensure our tourism hubs attract more international travelers and the Mombasa-Dubai route is our way of honoring this. With this route opening, we expect to capitalize on the opportunities between Kenya and the UAE and to give our guests direct access to the wonders of the coastal region’s tourism.”
Mombasa is a picturesque port city and popular tourist destination for those seeking sun, sand and rest along the white sandy beaches stretching from mainland Mombasa all the way to Diani, Watamu, all through to Lamu.
KQ will operate a Boeing 737-800, four times a week. Flights are open for booking via KQ’s website, www.kenya-airways.com , travel agents and Online Travel Agents (OTAs).
(pictures courtesy of Kenya Airways Corporate Communications)