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Why Kenya is turning to the emerging Gulf tourism market

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By Phyllis MUCHOKI

Kenya will expand its marketing investment in non- traditional tourism markets including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states as it seeks to enlarge its share of the global tourism pie as well as speed up tourism recovery efforts.

This was said by Principal secretary State Department of Tourism John Ololtuaa after he received the inaugural Kenya Airways direct flight from Dubai to Mombasa at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

PS Ololtuaa noted that the launch of the new direct route presented great opportunities for Kenya’s tourism sector as it connects to an emerging market with a high travel and business potential for Kenya. The destination has the opportunity to further establish itself as a leading travel destination and gateway to Africa for GCC travellers.

He also pointed out that deeper engagements in the Gulf region and other emerging markets, where demand for tourism is growing rapidly, would be key in driving rapid recovery.

“We are very positive about this development and highly appreciate the efforts and investment that the government of Kenya through KQ has made in establishing this route. It will not only expand our reach into new and existing markets, but also help stimulate more business activity as we look towards making a strong comeback from the pandemic effects,” Ololtuaa said.

Principal Secretary State Department of Culture and Heritage Ummi Bashir who had also attended the reception says” This move by our national carrier gives the coast an opportunity to showcase its rich cultural heritage and history. We have a great opportunity to showcase our rich variety in cuisine and Kenyan culture which includes song and dance”

The flight, with a capacity of 145 passengers, had left for Dubai on Thursday evening after being flagged off at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa by Deputy President H.E. Rigathi Gachagua before making a return to Mombasa on Friday morning.

Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Peninah Malonza during the flag off on Thursday lauded Kenya Airways for launching the new route and noted that the new flight will help position Mombasa as a world class destination for business and leisure.

“With this new route, we are connecting Kenya and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) even more tightly and opening up new opportunities for trade, tourism, and business. It will give tourists from the Middle East, Russia, Northern Europe and Australia direct access to the Kenyan coast experiences including beach experiences that include water sports and Culture stretching from mainland Mombasa all the way to Diani, Watamu, all through to Lamu” Said CS Malaonza

The flights on the Mombasa to Dubai route will originate in Nairobi and make a stopover in Mombasa to pick passengers. With the addition of this route, KQ will increase its frequency to Dubai from 10 times per week to 14 times per week.

It was established in response to market demand and it will provide direct access for tourists from the Middle East, Russia, Northern Europe, and Australia to experience the hospitality, tourism, and natural wonders of the coastal region, and it is expected to boost the tourism sector on the Kenyan Coast.

It will draw visitors who have an interest in key attractions including beach, safari and wildlife. Other attractions that attracts visitors form these regions include adventure-Sailing, snorkelling, boat riding, culture ties in the coast, heritage, culinary experiences

Further, it will also attract the region’s traders of electronics, clothing, and other consumer goods who will also benefit from the flight’s belly cargo capacity. In the same way, the flights will increase the capacity for direct exports of seafood and fresh produce to the Middle East.

Kenya Tourism Board and Kenya Airways continue to partner in marketing and showcasing Kenya as a prime destination for travellers across the globe. The new route will be a game changer for Mombasa and the coast region as a travel and business hub.

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