Tourism is expected to get a boost with the introduction of direct flights from the US and Spain later in the year.
Making the announcement at a Mombasa hotel, Tourism Minister Najib Balala said America’s Delta Airlines would start its flights to Kenya from June 2 from New York. “It will be operating four flights a week into Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, with stopovers for refuelling in Dakar, Senegal,” he said.
Balala made the remarks after launching a kite surfing international event, which has attracted 20 top kite surfers from the United Kingdom. He also announced that a Spanish charter flight, Lineas Euros was willing to start flying to Nairobi.
“The Government is working on incentives to ensure this new airline starts flying from Madrid, Spain,” he said. During his trip to the US, Balala said he met many African- Americans interested in touring Kenya following the election of Barrack Obama as US President.
“I am happy to announce that we have effectively marketed Kenya in America and that is why many African-American tourists have decided to tour the country,” said Balala.
The minister announced that the Treasury had made available Sh250 million for marketing out of the required Sh1 billion.
“I appreciate the fact that the Government has other pressing issues to handle in the face of growing hunger and fuel shortages. But there is goodwill to support tourism grow from the slump it suffered as a result of post-election chaos,” said Balala.
He supported requests by Kenyans in America to be given an opportunity to market the country.