Kenya on Monday assured investors in the aviation industry of government support in ensuring the East African nation is promoted as a preferred tourist destination.
Tourism Minister Dan Mwazo said the East African nation supports efforts towards increasing the number of flights into the country saying, that it translated to more visitors hence revenue for the country.
"For purposes of economic growth and stability, Kenya needs to embrace partnership with other countries by eliminating any impediments that may ruin the tourism industry," Mwazo said during a meeting with visiting Vice President of Qatar Airways Ali M. Al Rais in Nairobi.
Mwazo's remarks come as latest report on economic indicators shows that the tourism sector continues to take a beating as the number of tourists who arrived in the East African nation in May fell by 4.3 per cent from the previous period.
According to the latest figures from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the number of tourists arriving through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and Moi International Airport (MIA) fell by 4.3 per cent from 79,544 persons recorded in April to 76,117 persons in May. In April, tourist arrivals through JKIA and MIA had dropped by 16.8 percent from previous period. In March, the number stood at 95,633 before dropping to 79,544
in April.In January, 111,574 tourists visited Kenya through the two main airports. The number fell to 105,041 in February and has been on the decline since then. But Mwazo said talks are at an advanced stage to have Qatar airways fly visitors to the country's coastal city of Mombasa, adding that Kenya needs to position itself as a tourist destination not only in the region but globally.
Speaking during the meeting, Rais said Qatar Airways was ready to partner with the national carrier Kenya Airways to enable the country receive more visitors from the gulf while appealing to the national carrier Kenya Airways to closely work with other potential airlines. He said it was important that the country's official airline also embrace competition and improve on its quality of services. The minister noted that Kenya is endowed with a lot of cultural heritage similar to the gulf and the interactions will promote cultural tourism between the two countries.
The African subcontinent is one of Qatar Airways' largest markets by the number of destinations served - and the region alone makes up over 10 percent of the airline's international network. Qatar Airways flies to 14 cities across Africa, including Alexandria, Algiers, Cairo, Luxor, Casablanca, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Lagos,
Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Seychelles, Tripoli and Tunis. From each of these cities, the airline offers convenient connections via its Doha hub to many points on the airline's network covering Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and North and South America.