Virgin withdrawal piles on Kenyan misery

by Tiffany Millar on May 17, 2012

Tourism experts have rushed to comment that Virgin Atlantic this week announcing that it will cease all flights to the Kenyan capital Nairobi is just one of many problems that Kenya faces.

Last winter brought a drop in tourists arriving from Britain to Kenya, which was in part due to two foreign tourists being abducted an another being murdered on the Lamu archipelago In the light of events such as these, it came as little surprise to many when Virgin Atlantic made an announcement that it would be withdrawing from Kenya.

At the height of Kenya’s tourist season last winter, the carrier had to be reduced to offering return flights from London to Nairobi for as low as ¬£125 before the addition of taxes and charges. On a route dominated by flaghship carrier British Airways and its Kenyan counterpart Kenya Airways, Virgin has historically struggled to make profits in east Africa.

Virgin isn’t the only sufferer however, as BA too has been forced to make changes through taking a second daily flight from the UK to Nairobi off its roster. At present, Kenya Airways scrapes by from one month to the next while offering package holidays to tour operators across the region at attractive prices.

Another problem for Kenya’s tourism industry is how hotels around beaches in Mombasa are ageing, with any Brit holidaymakers still able to afford a winter holiday now favouring new resort hotels or villa complexes in Thailand and Goa, among other destinations. In comparison to Mombasa haunts, the accommodation has a fine choice of dining as well as all the latest spa facilities.

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