It is a beehive of activity in Mombasa as visitors continue flocking the coastal town to celebrate the festivities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The arrival of a chartered plane with polish tourists has buoyed the tourism industry that has been reeling from the effects of the pandemic.
Moi International Airport Mombasa (MIAM) Saturday night welcomed the first international charter flight operated by TUI Poland signalling what players in the tourism industry described as light at the end of the tunnel for the hospitality industry.
This is the first chartered flight to bring in tourists since March when Kenya reported its first case of Covid-19.
The aircraft a Boeing 737-800 flew in from Warsaw, Poland with 175 Polish tourist passengers for a 10 day holiday at the Kenyan Coast and safari itinerary.
The Enter Air aircraft on lease to TUI Poland touched down to a water cannon salute by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Fire Brigade and was received by Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) chairman, Mr Mohamed Hersi and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Coast Regional Manager, Mr Peter Wafula.
”The arrival of this charter service that will be flying in every Saturday up to mid- March 2021 gives us hope that we are headed on the path to recovery albeit the ravaging effects of Covid- 19. We remain optimistic that with vaccines being found, there can be hope for at least a return to normalcy in all sectors of the economy,” Hersi said.
He said that if tourist numbers using the charter continue to grow, there could be an additional charter flight rotation flying into Mombasa from Poland.
” The Polish market is a very resilient one. The Poles are outgoing and love adventure hence their visit includes beach stay and safari,” he said.
Hersi added that the beauty of charter flight business stems from the fact that they fill up beach hotels and also help generate business to the adjacent Tsavo and Amboseli Game Parks where tourists visit to see nature at its best.
The veteran hotelier said that several hotels in the South Coast and partly in the North Coast will be benefiting from the arrival of the charter.
On his part, Wafula said that KAA had put in place elaborate Covid-19 measures in place to ensure that all arriving passengers had valid negative Covid-19 certificates and followed standard health protocols as set out by the Ministry of Health.
”We have everything working for our inbound and outbound passengers where temperature is checked before being allowed to exit or board aircraft for the international flights. There are clear markings on the ground right from the time once disembarks to guide on social distancing, sanitisations including at the baggage bay,” Wafula said.