All Ukrainian tourists on holiday at the Coast leave for Europe

Tourists from Ukraine drink 'Madafu' at Moi International Airport. All Ukrainian tourists who were on holiday at the Coast have left. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

All Ukrainian tourists who were on holiday at the Coast have left the country.

In an interview with The Standard, Ukrainian Honorary Consul in Mombasa Oleksii Sierkov said the 129 tourists, unfortunately, could not fly back home after Russia invaded their country.

“All Ukrainian tourists in Mombasa have left. They have gone to countries in Europe like Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and Turkey that are not very far from Ukraine,” said Mr Sierkov.

The consul revealed that a few of the men had volunteered to fight the invaders alongside the Ukrainian army.

Mr Sierkov said there were several chartered and scheduled flights out of Mombasa on February 28, March 3rd, 5th, 7th and 12th to Warsaw and Katowice (Poland), Bucharest (Romania), Prague (Czech Republic), Istanbul (Turkey) and Frankfurt (Germany).

Hoteliers at the Coast had earlier confirmed that tourists from Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania and other Eastern European countries were holidaying in Kenya. The majority of visitors had travelled to the Coast courtesy of an deal code-named Sister City Agreement between the Ukraine port city of Odessa and the County Government of Mombasa, which led to the introduction of weekly charter flights from Odessa to Moi International Airport.

Pollmans Tours and Safaris Ltd Director of Operations, Mr Mohamed Hersi, said that Ukraine was one of Kenya’s emerging source markets in Eastern Europe.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast Branch Executive Officer, Dr Sam Ikwaye, said the entire Eastern Europe market had been affected by the raging war in Ukraine.

Kenya Coast Tourist Association CEO, Mr Julius Owino, had said that events in Ukraine following the invasion by Russia were likely to affect tourism recovery locally.

“It was a new market with very promising trends since there were charter flights that had started bringing in tourists to sample what Magical Kenya destination offers. It is sad but we hope the war will end soon,’’ Mr Owino said.