Ukunda Airstrip is set to be renamed Diani National Airport as the government intensifies efforts to expand it to attract bigger airlines and more visitors to South Coast.
Unlike the little known Ukunda, Diani is known in global tourism circles for its white sand beaches. The Tourism ministry’s director of public communication Mulei Muia said the renaming of the airport will attract more charter flights to the region.
“Its significance is basically to attract more tourists to Diani, and hence open up the tourists resort town to big charter flights into South Coast. That is going to be a big boost for the tourism sector," Mr Muia said.
The airport is set to be renamed from April 25. Ukunda Airstrip is mainly used by visitors to Kwale County, primarily Diani, followed by Tiwi and Msambweni. It is increasingly becoming busy due to growing number of tourists.
Tourism players have welcomed the renaming of the airstrip terming it as a milestone in enhancing tourism.
In a statement, Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa managing director Bobby Kamani said the conversion of the airstrip to an airport is timely, following the commissioning of a mobile airport control tower at a cost of Sh150 million.
“The renaming of Ukunda Airstrip to Diani Airport is a prominent lift for the residents and investors within the Diani region,” Mr Kamani said.