Narok residents are expected to reap huge from the recently launched direct flight from Kenya to the United States of America (USA) as the number of tourists visiting the world’s eight wonder, Maasai Mara game reserve is expected to increase.
Tourism stakeholders in the region are confident that the move will double the number of tourists visiting the famous game reserve, especially during the period between May and August, when the wildebeest cross from Serengeti in Tanzania to the Kenyan side.
The Nominated MP, David Sankok and Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) Chairman, Francis Nkoitoi said the direct flight was a game-changer in the sector as well as a sign of confidence with the country’s security and infrastructure.
“The direct flight from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) to John F. Kennedy airport is a dream come true for the Kenyan economy. Through such flights, we will be able to get more tourists in Maasai Mara and other destinations in the country,” said Sankok.
The legislator lauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for the March 9th handshake with opposition leader, Raila Odinga which has since created a conducive atmosphere for international trade that was slowly deteriorating after the disputed 2017 presidential polls.
Sankok also appealed to the government to upgrade Ewaso Nyiro airstrip on the gateway to Maasai Mara game reserve and initiate direct flights from JKIA to Narok to save tourists from travel inconveniences.
The two were speaking to the press on Tuesday at Africa Hope Center in Narok Town.
On his part, Nkoitoi said more people would be employed in the hotel industry as tour guides among other opportunities in the conservancy, thus boosting the local economy.
He observed that majority of wildlife in Maasai Mara is found in conservancies and the direct flight would give US tourists a rare opportunity to watch the animals in their natural habitat and in turn inject the much needed foreign exchange to their economy.
“This County mainly depends on tourism as a source of revenue. With the direct flights, we expect bookings from US tourists to at least double between Christmas and New Year festivities,” said Nkoitoi.
By Ann Salaton