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Direct flights from the UK to Mombasa


The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) calls for the introduction of direct scheduled flights from the United Kingdom (UK) to Mombasa so as to boost tourist arrivals from this important source market into the coastal region.
KTB Chairman Jimi Kariuki said that since 2014 there have been no direct flights from the UK to Mombasa following the abrupt withdrawal of UK Charters from the route, leading to an immediate reduction in tourist arrivals to Kenya from the UK.
Kariuki who was speaking at the English Point Marina in Mombasa during the launch of the British Chamber of Commerce Coast Branch noted that good air accessibility is key to the success of long-haul tourism destinations.
“Whereas the direct route between London and Nairobi is well serviced by Kenya Airways and British Airways, our coastal destinations are not and therefore there is an urgent need for the launch of direct flights from the UK to the Kenyan coast,” he emphasized. “We will continue engage with the 3 key airlines, Kenya Airways, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, to urge them to seriously consider launching a direct flight from the UK to Mombasa.”
The Kenyan coast bore the brunt of a tourism slump in 2014/2015 as a result of perceived threats of insecurity in the region. This led to the cancellation of travel bookings to the region by international travelers, mainly from the UK and European markets.
The UK is Kenya’s second leading international tourism source market after the United States of America (USA). Over the period January-November 2016, tourist arrivals into Kenya from the UK stood at 88,390, whereas over the same period arrivals from the USA stood at 90,046.
Last year’s withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, Brexit, has been cited as a factor that could affect long-haul travel patterns from the UK. But the KTB Chairman is optimistic that the Brexit effects will not necessarily impact negatively on the UK long haul travel market.
“Brexit presents opportunities for both the UK and for Kenya when the time comes for both Governments to negotiate bilateral trade deals. One such opportunity is a review of the current UK/Kenya travel Visa regime. The current Visa requirements for nationals of the 2 Countries wishing to travel to either Country for leisure or business purposes can be eased to allow for short stay visits, up to 30 days, without the need for a Visa. I believe that such a move would be mutually beneficial.”
Historically, he added, as members of the Commonwealth of Nations, Brits and Kenyans did not require Visas to travel to each other’s Country and this had great benefits to both Countries.


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