More tourists expected to land in coast as Balala cuts cost for Charter planes

Tourism in the coastal region got a boost on Thursday after the government announced an initiative to attract more visitors that will see hoteliers and tour operators smile all the way to the bank.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala announced the waiving of landing fees for Charter Airlines touching down at the Moi International Airport as well as Mombasa and Malindi airports.

While announcing the Sh1.2 billion initiative, Mr Balala said the programme will last until June 2018 with hopes of recovering lost business from tourist charter companies in what he said was to ‘Give incentives to help restore Kenya’s tourism crown’.

“One of the challenges we face in stimulating a coastal tourism recovery is the relatively high costs experienced by our visitors. It is a simple fact that it is often cheaper to go somewhere else,” he said on Thursday in a statement to newsrooms.

The newly appointed cabinet secretary asked the government and stakeholders to work hand in hand to reduce visitor costs and attract tourists back to the Kenyan coast with a value for money product.

“No matter where our tourists come from, home or abroad, our industry depends on three things – security, infrastructure and value products, and as government we will be working on all fronts to improve our offering,” said Mr Balala.

As at July this year, the sector had recorded a contraction for a fifth consecutive quarter, declining 7.5 per cent from a year earlier.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) the bed occupancy rate at coastal beach hotels fell by an estimated 21.9 per cent in the first quarter.

The fall in business was associated to the rising insecurity through the months followed by travel bans by foreign countries.

Source: Daily Nation