Forget US transit visas: Kenya – Jamaica direct on Kenya Airways soon?

Jamaica Tourism has always been known to plan out of the box and in doing business just a little different.

The United States is one of the only countries in the world requiring passengers from many nationalities passing through their airports to third countries to apply for transit visas in advance.  This has been a challenge for the Caribbean, and Jamaica specifically to lessen the dependency on the American inbound market. Reaching out to additional tourism source markets can become a challenge since a majority of arriving passengers have to travel through the United States to get to a Caribbean Airport like Montego Bay. This is due to the current air links available.

The announcement by the Kenya government of plans to launch direct flights between Kenya and Jamaica last week has received mostly positive responses.

The announcement made last week Tuesday following bilateral talks held between Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta his Jamaican counterpart  Prime Minister Andrew Holness. They met during Kenya’s delegation visited Jamaica for a three-day state visit. It may now encourage Kenya Airways after recently staring service to New York to also lo0ok at Nairobi to Montego Bay flights.

President Kenyatta said this would deepen commercial ties as well as strengthen the partnership between the two countries.
Travel Leaders in Kenya and Jamaica think such flights will go a long way in helping both markets through tourism and accessibility with reduced travel hassles.

However, the news was not welcomed by all as some travel agents felt that the idea is not viable since Jamaica is also seen as an expensive destination.  Carlson Wagonlit Travel pointed out that Kenya’s national carrier Kenya Airways has too many problems that will not be resolved by flying to Jamaica.

A direct air connection between Kenya and Jamaica could easily open connecting feeder markets both in Africa and the Caribbean, Mexico or South America.

There is a deep cultural connection between Jamaica and Africa. Jamaica is also well-positioned with their tourism minister Edmund Bartlett as a member of the African Tourism Board.