Local hotel brand – PrideInn Group of Hotels has welcomed the move by Air India to resume direct flights between Mumbai and Nairobi from September, saying this is a huge opportunity for local hospitality business and leisure industry.
Group Managing Director Hasnain Noorani said the development is a welcome boost for PrideInn as a majority of the hotel’s business guests from Asia are from South Asia.
He added that shortened flight hours would also bring added benefits to the tourism industry.
“This direct flight is sure to boost tourism and trade in East Africa. Passengers from all around South Asia will now be able to take a short flight to Mumbai, make their connection and arrive in Nairobi or Mombasa nearly half the time that it previously took,” he said.
“This new flight opens up a number of opportunities not just for Kenya, but for other East African countries, as well. We expect this to boost the corporate market within Nairobi strengthening its position as a regional hub for corporate travel. Along with the direct route, the decision by Air India to resume flights has been well thought out,” said Mr. Hasnain.
Figures from tourism Research institute indicate that tourists from the India accounted for 6.17 percent market share represented by 125,032 travelers between January to December, 2018.
These numbers are expected to go up this year on the back of increased confidence from foreign visitors, growth in domestic tourism and largely with the planned direct flights to Nairobi from September this year.
Reduction in flight times, Hasnain added, means South Asia leisure travelers will have more time to spend experiencing all that Kenya and East Africa has to offer.
“Currently many visitors from South Asia spend very little time in Nairobi and miss out on some of our country’s fantastic attractions and culture especially in Mombasa and other major towns like Kisumu,” he said.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts business and leisure spending in Kenya to grow at an average rate of five percent annually business tourism spending is projected to reach Sh252bn by 2025 while Leisure spending is expected to reach Sh400.6bn over the same period.
Overall, 2019 is expected to see the consolidation among consumers of emerging trends such as the quest for ‘travel to change and to show’, ‘the pursuit of healthy options’ wellness and sports tourism, ‘multigenerational travel’ as a result of demographic changes and more responsible travel.