(eTN) – Information from aviation sources in Mombasa tells a story of hope and doubts at the same time, when details become known that more charter flights, including from Poland and Russia, were heading for Mombasa’s Moi International Airport as of next week.
The new all-inclusive tour charter flights are expected to boost occupancies for the beach resorts in and around Mombasa, Kenya, at a time when Kenya’s tourism sector is reeling from two abductions of foreigners from remote beach spots in Lamu and further north in Kiwayu.
“The new flights are much welcome and much needed,” said a regular source from the Kenyan coast, before adding, “and it only remains to be seen how the negative headlines are affecting sales. Tour operators from abroad have been seeking assurances from us here in Mombasa and from government about security arrangements for tourists. We now wait to see how the statements given by government are translating into action.
“Generally, we are confident that Mombasa tourism will not be affected a great deal even though travel to Lamu has collapsed because of the blanket advice by embassies not to go there. Tourists fear that their travel insurances will lapse should they go there, and those handling excursions are also worried that if something should happen, they might get sued for negligence. So coast tourism has two faces now, the Lamu situation and us here at north and south coast of Mombasa.
“I think here we are fine; demand for safaris is steadily upward and also for forward bookings for the beach resorts. The new flights, if they sell well in those countries where they are coming from, will give Kenya a boost, and this would restore confidence in other markets, too. We all regret a lot, of course, what happened and pray for those two ladies.”
Kenya tourism is still on track to produce record arrivals and revenues for the calendar year of 2011 with a broad increase of about 15 percent over and above 2010, itself a record breaking year, and new flights to Mombasa and to Nairobi will support this trend with the arrival of yet more visitors.