Lufthansa Group’s newest leisure airline Eurowings Discover has commenced direct flights to the Kenyan coast, at a time when the country’s tourism sector is expected to post modest recovery in 2021.
Eurowings Discover commenced its flights on the 24th of July 2021 with two weekly flight services from Frankfurt, Germany to Mombasa, with onward flights to the region.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said the flights will result in the region receiving more international tourists.
This comes at a time when a study by Deloitte has forecast Kenya’s international arrivals to rise by 37 percent to 806,000 this year.
Balala said that the flight was a testament to the strides Kenya is making in the recovery of tourism activities, which were minimal due to restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted that the Kenyan coast was a popular destination for European tourists adding that the flight would create a link between Kenya and European travelers.
Data by Central Bank of Kenya indicates that the country registered a 21.7 percent decline in the number of international arrivals between January and June 2021 compared to a similar period in 2020, according to a new report.
The International Tourism Performance Report January to June 2021, indicates that the UK was the fifth-highest source market of tourists in the country with 16,264 persons representing 5.3 percent of the 305,635 total arrivals.
The highest number of visitor arrivals was from the United States of America and Uganda, which registered a total number of tourists at 49,178 and 31,418, respectively.
“Kenya has been making great progress as a destination in attracting tourists from different markets and especially from Europe. This flight is yet another milestone in the recovery of activities in the country,” said CS Balala.
“The Kenyan Coast is especially showing great interest from tourists from across Europe and beyond. A few months ago, we received the first ever Romanian charter followed by another charter from Ukraine in Mombasa. The commencement of flights by Eurowings Discover will help us link with both Business and leisure clients from Germany and the region.
He further added that Germany and Europe remain to be a key source market for tourists with the potential of further growth with the new emerging younger consumers and the continued relations between Kenya and European countries.
“With the emergence of new market trends and a new consumer segment, we have an opportunity to expand our markets and to reach the now younger and health-conscious clientele. We are using every opportunity to showcase our preparedness as a destination as well as improving our experiences and tourism destinations to remain competitive over other destinations,” Balala added.
“Europe is a market that offers us a different opportunity, with the vaccination of citizens, more people will be looking forward to travel and we want to be ready for this,” he added.
Dr. Andre Schulz, General Manager Sales, Lufthansa Group, Southern & East Africa said thanks to favorable market reactions and booking trends, the airline is able to expand its East African network offering.
Commenting on the same, the Principal Secretary in the Department of Tourism, Safina Kwekwe reiterated that the Kenyan government was working towards ensuring that a conducive environment that allows a vibrant air travel system and in the process support tourism activities.
“This development also gives us hope and reassures us that people are eager to travel and experience the world yet again, as a destination we are working hard to ensure that we are ready to host tourists’ She added.
The Kenya Tourism Board CEO Dr Betty Radier said the entry by Eurowings Discover flights into the Kenyan market saying that it signaled the growing confidence in the destination by tourists in regards to preparedness against COVID-19 which has enhanced traveler confidence.
She added that Eurowings Discover would offer a different opportunity to travelers who wanted to visit for both leisure and business.
“Commencement of this direct flight to Mombasa by Eurowings Discover shows that the work we have been putting in is bearing fruits which make us immensely proud. We shall continue to market Kenya to the world to ensure that we tap into each available market. That said, this flight is a signal of this growth and confidence in Magical Kenya as a preferred destination globally,” he said.