Tourism in Kenya has received a major boost with the arrival of the first chartered flight from Eastern European country, Romania to the East African nation.
The flight operated by Tarom Air and organized by Kenyan tour company Private Safaris East Africa landed at the Moi International Airport, Mombasa on Wednesday.
The flight is the first of nine rotations that commence in March to August 2021.
Onboard the flight were 116 travellers drawn from Romania who are expected to tour and explore different destinations within the country.
Kenya Tourism Board CEO, Betty Radier said that the flight provided a ray of hope for the industry which had been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also noted that Eastern Europe was a key market that Kenya was banking on for the revival of the sector.
“This flight is coming at an important time when our tourism sector which just like other destinations globally is working towards recovery following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Europe is one of our key source markets for international tourists therefore, this flight is a signal of the continued revival of tourism,” Radier said.
She further added that Eastern Europe is showing great potential as a source market for tourists due to increased relations between Kenya and countries in the region.
“Eastern Europe is a market that offers us a different opportunity going forward.
It has been growing and showing great potential for us and we aim to bank on this in the long run. This has been especially due to the growing bilateral, political, and social-economic relationships between Kenya and countries in this region,” she added.
The flight signals the growing confidence in the destination by tourists with regards to preparedness against COVID-19 which has enhanced traveller confidence.
“We are proud to receive this flight because it is a sign that the work towards reassuring our clients of their safety within Kenya has been fruitful. We shall continue to market Kenya to the world to ensure that we tap into each available market. That said, this flight is a signal of this growth and confidence in Magical Kenya as a preferred destination,” she said.
As a key segment of the tourism industry, the KTB CEO further expressed the commitment to fast-track marketing strategies that have kept the destination alive during the prolonged period of the pandemic that has slowed down travel.
“We remain extremely grateful to the domestic market for anchoring the tourism sector through the prolonged crisis.”
The charter business has been a catalyst for Kenya’s tourism business at the coast. At the close of 2019/2020 winter season, eight charters were feeding into the coastal market.