Low budget carriers: a boost to Coast tourism
Hospitality industry players in coast region have welcomed the announcement by Fly Tristar Service, a local budget carrier that it will operate early morning service to and fro Mombasa, bringing around 4000 customers to the county between now and January 2019.
“Fly Tristar’s launch of low cost early morning flight service to Mombasa is indeed a historic move that is set to boost Coast’s tourism industry,” said Mr. Hasnain Noorani, Managing Director for Pride Inn Hotels.
Apart from Fly Tristar Service, other low cost carriers on the Mombasa route from Nairobi include Jambojet, Silverstone Air (which is the only one flying directly from Kisumu to Mombasa) with plans to start a Wilson - Mombasa service soon and Skyward Air.
Tourism at the coastal region is on the mend following a significant setbacks caused by terror threats, prolonged electioneering period coupled with political chaos in 2017 and travel advisories which prompted western governments to issue travel advisories to their nationals.
“Low-cost airlines to Mombasa and other coastal towns have changed the way holiday makers and business people travel; travelers look at where they fly and go there,” added Noorani.
Visitors numbers dwindled between 2014 and 2015, this saw large number of visitors who used to visit the Coast purely for leisure seek alternative destinations in what lead to a significant drop in revenues from one of the biggest earners for the county.
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“Availability of affordable air connectivity definitely has a positive impact on coastal tourism industry as it encourages domestic tourism, spending and job creation,” said Mr. Mohammed Omar, General Manager for PrideInn Paradise Beach Resort, Convention Centre & Spa.
“Mombasa has a wealth of amazing cultural and natural treasures for visitors to admire. The launch of new carrier is good news for the county’s economy,” he added.
According to the recent (2018) World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) report, travel and tourism’s total contribution to Kenya’s GDP was KES769.1bn (USD7,432.9mn), 9.7% of GDP in 2017, and is forecast to rise by 5.5% in 2018, and to rise by 5.1% pa to KES1,338.3bn (USD12,933.6mn), 9.1% of GDP in 2028.
The new budget carrier to Mombasa will lead to a tremendous increase in visitors to coast especially peak season kicks off.
'' This is what Mombasa and the Kenyan Coast needs. Accesibility has been a challenge but now that we have affordable carriers and the modern Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Madaraka Passenger train in operations, we hope to have many visitors throng the Coast,'' Sam Ikwaye, Executive Officer of the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (Kahc) said.