Direct flight US to Nairobi presents myriad of opportunities
After many years of lobbying by both private sector and the government of Kenya JKIA was finally granted category A status.
What does this mean and what are the benefits?
Firstly USA is now the leading source of international tourists to Kenya. American tourists are also high yield visitors when it comes to spend per person. Tbey spend on average 30 % more than your average tourist. They are very keen on wildlife and they enjoy flying between different parks across Kenya. Wilson Airport is bound to see more action once they leave JKIA.
Kenya and the region esp Tanzania will also benefit from Latin America and Canadians who may opt to connect via a US aiport with direct flight to Nbi as opposed to transit through Europe .
Most of the American tourists are senior citizens who are also referred to as empty nest couples. They no longer have young ones but many bring along their grand children who will be our future guests. They find the transit through Amsterdam or Heathrow quite long and tedious.
Our national carrier KQ must put its acts together soonest possible. Its presents our national carrier with a golden opportunity to claw back its market share.
Direct flight is also a boon for exporters of perishable products like flowers since quality was getting compromised with the Lengthy transit in Europe. A direct flight will enable us to deliver fresh produce solidifying our position as an exporter of both floriculture and horticulture.
It is also a stamp of approval that it is safe to do business in Kenya. It means many American firms will happily consider Nbi as their base. Well it can only get better.
Finally getting the status is one thing. maintaining the status is more secondary hence the authorities must get more serious and consistent. We should not allow any reason for US to raise any doubts about the status they have granted us.
We now join the few countries in Africa like SA, Ethiopia, Ghana, Morocco who enjoy a direct flight.
Well as always I choose to remain an optimist. Africa some call it a continent , I call it home.