Seth Onyango, bird story agency
Mombasa is set for a surge in tourism after FlyDubai launched direct flights between Dubai, the commercial hub of the United Arab Emirates, and the coastal city.
This new direct route, a first for any UAE airline, is also poised to strengthen economic ties and cultural exchange between the two regions.
Flydubai will operate four weekly direct flights to Mombasa from January 17, 2024, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The carrier becomes the first national carrier to operate direct flights from Dubai and to the coastal city as it makes a foray into Africa.
"We remain committed to opening up underserved markets and supporting Dubai’s aviation hub. Our direct flights to Mombasa from January and our growing operations in Africa will further support free flows of trade and tourism between the UAE and the East African markets," CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said.
Kenya's aviation authority said Emirates will codeshare on this route, "providing passengers with even more options for seamless connections through Dubai's international aviation hub (DXB)."
"With Flydubai's introduction, we are poised to open new avenues of opportunity for both business and leisure travellers. The airline's seamless connectivity is set to further fortify our bilateral ties, facilitating increased trade and enriching the experiences shared between our two nations."
Observers expect the new route to be a game changer for Mombasa's economy. Known for its stunning beaches and rich cultural history, the city expects an increase in tourists, particularly from the UAE and the Middle East.
The influx is likely to revitalise the local tourism sector, providing a much-needed boost to hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses.
With Flydubai's direct flights, which will operate four times a week, travellers from the UAE and beyond will have more options and flexibility to visit Mombasa and other destinations in Kenya, such as the Maasai Mara, Amboseli, and Lamu.
The direct flights will also reduce the travel time and cost for tourists, as they will no longer have to transit through Nairobi or other hubs. This will make Kenya more competitive and attractive as a destination, especially for short-haul and weekend travellers.
Moreover, the direct flights will benefit from the codeshare agreement between Flydubai and Emirates, which will allow passengers to access more than 200 destinations across the world through Dubai's international aviation hub (DXB).
This will increase the exposure and visibility of Kenya as a destination, as well as create opportunities for joint marketing and promotion campaigns between the two airlines and the tourism authorities.
Mombasa's tourism sector, hard-hit by the pandemic, has been eyeing a revival with the latest development set to energise the local hospitality industry.
The direct flights are set to increase tourist arrivals from the Middle East, known for their high spending power.
bird story agency