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Coast eyes more tourists on charter flight subsidy

Tourism secretary Najib Balala.
Tourism secretary Najib Balala. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Mombasa is eyeing a three-fold growth in tourist numbers in the November-December festive season after the government extended subsidies for incoming charter flights.

Tourism PS Joe Okudo said the Charter Incentive Programme (CIP) will be expanded to include low-cost carriers and scheduled flights from Europe to Mombasa’s Moi International Airport and Malindi Airport with no landing costs charged.

A week ago, Tourism secretary Najib Balala announced CIP’s extension to 2020.

Children aged below 16 years accompanying their parents will get Visa-free entry while national park fees will be capped at Sh6,000 from the regular Sh9,000. The airlines also get a Sh3,000 subsidy per seat for every international passenger.

Mr Okudo said the subsidy had attracted 10 air charter operators with plans under way to incorporate joint marketing drives with Europe-based travel agents.

Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa managing director Bobby Kamani said the extension would boost revenues for hotels that have recently enjoyed higher tourist arrivals tied to meetings and conferences in the region.

“The extension of the Charter Incentive Programme along with infrastructural developments on the Coast encourages charter tourism. The Kenya Tourism Board should boost its marketing offensive especially with the recent launch of direct Nairobi-New York flights,” he said.

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