Story by Haniel Mengistu
Tourism stakeholders in the coast region are optimistic of good tidings ahead with the arrival of the ever chartered flight from Romania.
Anghel Cristian-Daniel, General Manager of Map Travel that brought 53 incentive travelers from Romanians on a nine hour chartered flight from Bucharest to Mombasa said many more are willing to choose Kenya as a foreign destination.
The incentive trip long used by companies as a non cash reward to their employees focuses on being together, on pure fun, sharing convivial moments around a table while doing a sport or walking through a tourist resort.
“All the 53 Romanians are on incentive travel and are happy to visit Kenya for the first time to sample beach and safari tourism products on offer,” said Cristian-Daniel.
He said the tourists have already visited Amboseli National Park, Tsavo East and West national parks on an excursion.
He said more and more Romanians are willing to travel to foreign destinations after more than a year of coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions.
Cristian-Daniel says European countries reliant on tourism are racing to reopen their borders and revive economies decimated by the pandemic.
“We are going to have weekly charter flights between Romania and Kenya, which is a popular vacation destination on the continent” he said.
Andra Lefter, a Romanian tourism official, said they have been quite successful in handling the arrival of the Romanian tourists as both countries have been cooperative in adhering to health control measures.
African Guest Safaris Ltd Managing Director Tasneem Adamji-Kheraluwala said tourism continues to be one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the outlook remains highly uncertain where the vacationers are putting up.
She said Kenya holds high hopes for the 2021 tourism season and emphasized that they are working to revitalize the tourism sector for the new high season.
According to Adamji-Kheraluwala, a rapid vaccine rollout in the country, especially workers in the tourism sector will be reflected positively on the 2021 tourist season.
“The roll out of vaccines against Covid-19 is giving us new confidence to welcome visitors to our facilities,” she said.
She added, “But with the arrival of incentive travelers from Romania on a one week vacation gives us hope that Kenya is a safe destination and ready for business.”
She said the inaugural flight will strengthen our destination brand visibility as a whole source of market but also increase visitor numbers.
Jeff Mukolwe the General Manager of Sawhili Beach Hotel said the maiden chartered flight from Romania signals the growing confidence in the destination by tourists with regards to preparedness against Covid-19 which has enhanced traveller confidence.
Mukolwe said the incentive tourism niche is a very competitive sector and Kenya is up against Zanzibar, Morocco, Seychelles and Maldives which are dominating the sector.
He said the arrival of 53 Romanian tourists being the first batch of incentive travelers since the pandemic broke out has rekindled hope among tourism stakeholders.
Muriuki Mureithi of Kenya National Convention Bureau (KNCB) said the last two years have definitely been challenging for the tourism sector because of the pandemic situation.
He said KNCB is a government entity whose mandate is to sustainably increase Kenya’s regional and international meeting, incentive travel, convention, event and exhibitions (MICE) market share resulting in improved social and economic contribution to the nation.
Mureithi said KNCB believes that Kenya’s tourism is recovering step by step, and he also hopes that the sector will further contribute to the country’s economy.