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Kenya’s Ministry of Tourism is offering incentives to airlines in a bid to stimulate demand following a dip in visitors.
The country’s coastal region has borne the brunt of a drop in the number of charters due largely to perceived ‘insecurity’.
It was only in November that the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office changed its travel advice for Kenya, removing an advisory against travel to parts of the north coast.
With more than 70% of visitors arriving via aircraft, the Ministry believes its air growth strategy will be a “critical success factor” to its tourism sector recovery.
Under the Charter Incentives Programme (CIP), all tourist charter aircrafts with passengers terminating at Moi International Airport Mombasa and Malindi Airport will be given exemption from landing fees for 30 months, until June 30 2018.
There will also be a passenger subsidy of $30 per seat filled by international passengers who terminate or disembark in Kenya over the same period.
“Security has greatly improved and it is time for tourist charter airlines to resume flights to Kenya,” said Kenyan Ministry of Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala.
More than £7 million has been invested in the new incentive programme which is envisaged to act as a subsidy for tourist flights, which charters will be able to use to save money on costs like marketing spend.
The Kenyan Ministry of Tourism is also hoping the programme will stimulate demand for Kenya from new charters while encouraging those already flying to the country to increase their route frequencies.
The Ministry said it will continue to monitor, evaluate and adjust its incentives every six months “to suit prevailing market conditions”.
“We wish to inform all airlines, tour operators and travel agents that control and organise tourist charters that Kenya is open for business,” said Balala.
“We encourage them to take up the CIP and further give us input on how to improve it as we go along.”