“The frequent attacks (by terrorists) are worrying, and we as the tourism stakeholders are pleading with the Government to beef up security before things get out of hand,” he went on.
Charter flights, which have ceased operations, according to Hersi, include Corsair from France, with Air Berlin from Germany down to one weekly flight from its initial two. He said TUI UK that operated out of Manchester in the UK has pulled out, leaving only the one that originates from London.
Swiss-based Edelweiss is also said to be considering stopping its flights while another British operated airline — Monarch — has pulled out altogether, and will not be resuming soon until 2014, according to Hersi.
The only relief for the region’s tourism, according to Hersi, is chartered flights operated by TUI Nordic — which ferries in visitors from Sweden and Finland. It started operating on the Mombasa route last year, and is still active to date.
Hersi addressed a special session of members of MCTA during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Nyali International Beach Hotel over the weekend.
Hersi added it was also encouraging that award-winning Qatar Airways is keen on starting flights to Mombasa.
And according to KTB’s data, XL Airline Charters cancelled its flights this February.
The data also shows that comparatively, tourist arrivals this year through JKIA in Nairobi grew in the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year. However, the same does not reflect on the data sourced from Mombasa’s airport.
Total tourist arrivals for the whole country for the first quarter of this year by air and sea was 312,258 compared to 313,691 in the same period in 2011. This shows a 0.5 per cent decline, according to KTB.
During the same period JKIA’s share grew by 8.8 per cent to record 239,523 arrivals, compared to 2011 when it registered 220,097 visitors. Mombasa airport received 72,735 visitors this year, compared to 93,008 in 2011, a 21.8 per cent decline.
“Arrival figures through the Mombasa airport have been on the decline” according to Ndegwa.