Faster adoption of Open sky policy has the potential to increase tourist arrivals by threefold to Kenya’s coastlines, PrideInn Group of Hotels Managing Director Mr. Hasnain Noorani has said.
Expediting the process, he said will boost international tourism traffic to Moi International Airport and subsequently drive up booking numbers for hotels to sustain the tourism boom momentum experienced in the last quarter of 2017.
This move he said aims at attracting more international tourists from Europe and other destinations across the globe.
“Reducing air access limitations related to air travel will be imperative in attracting more global visitors. To accelerate sustainability of tourism development at the Coast, the government ought to open up skies in Mombasa so that airlines from across the world can operate flights to Moi International Airport,” said Mr. Noorani.
This move will boost tourism and also sell Mombasa internationally as a Meeting Incentive Conference and Exhibition (MICE) destination. The Kenyan coast is on the rebound, after a prolonged political season and a long period slump linked with terror threats and travel advisories.
“We need this to be adopted sooner rather than later as it will compliment Mombasa’s attractiveness especially when it comes to the ease of doing business. Liberalization of air transport contributes to greater trade and tourism, inward investment, productivity growth, increased employment and economic” Noorani said.
A study by global management consulting firm InterVISTAS, on costs and benefits of open skies in 2017, estimated that liberalization between the five EAC countries could result in an additional 46,320 jobs and US$ 202.1 million (Sh20.86 billion) per annum in gross domestic product.
International air services are being progressively liberalized throughout the world. Open sky policy is the ultimate form of liberalization which permits airlines to operate in countries without any restrictions.
Presently, some bilateral agreements in the world provide for open sky policy. India has signed an open sky policy agreement with the US. With other countries it has been liberalizing bilateral agreements.