Their return is spurred by Kenya’s burgeoning corporate landscape and revitalized tourism sector. The Belgian national carrier, a member of the esteemed Lufthansa Group and Star Alliance, touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday evening carrying a full complement of 288 passengers. The reintroduction of Brussels Airlines’ service to Nairobi expands the Lufthansa Group’s footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa to an impressive 18 destinations. Kenya has now ascended to the position of the group’s second-largest market in terms of flight frequency, with Lufthansa operating five weekly flights, Euro Wings Discover flying six times a week to Mombasa, and the newly inaugurated six weekly flights by Brussels Airlines to Nairobi.

This enhanced connectivity is set to significantly boost passenger transfers for Belgium’s diverse travel industry, catering to charter services, corporate travel, MICE specialists, online travel agencies, and traditional travel agents alike. Brussels Airlines CEO Dorothea von Boxberg expresses her enthusiasm, stating, “We are witnessing a tremendous interest from our home market to explore Kenya. Our inaugural flights to Nairobi are fully booked, a testament to the city’s vibrant allure and its role as the perfect gateway for an unforgettable Kenyan adventure.”

The airline is diligently working to increase its flight frequency to meet the surging demand for both business and leisure travel since the market has responded with great enthusiasm. According to Belgium’s statistical agency Statbel, Belgians embarked on 6.92 million international trips in the third quarter of 2023, marking a 3.8% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2022. Although international travel numbers have not yet reached the pinnacle of 2019, when 7.15 million trips were recorded, the preference for overseas travel remains robust with 64% of Belgians planning to venture abroad for leisure in the next 12 months. Cost and affordability emerge as crucial considerations for 34% of Belgians when planning international trips.

The Kenya Tourism Board is determined to capitalize on these travel trends to bolster visitor numbers and has warmly welcomed the return of Brussels Airlines to Kenya after its prolonged absence. The year-round service is expected to significantly boost arrivals across all seasons. Europe stands as a vital source for Kenya’s tourism industry, accounting for 29% of the market and generating over 572,000 visitors in the previous year, solidifying its position as the second-largest contributor to Kenya’s thriving tourism sector.

In 2023, the number of travellers from Belgium to Kenya surged to 12,960, up from 9,981 the previous year, reflecting a growing appreciation for Kenya as an alluring tourist destination among Belgian travellers. The success of the route is evident even before the inaugural flight, with an impressive 50,000 people already having booked their flights to either visit Nairobi or travel from Nairobi to Brussels since tickets went on sale, as confirmed by airline officials.

Source: Mwakilishi

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