7th August is a day that a majority of Kenyans (me included) would like struck out of the calendar. It’s a day that leaves bad memories first with the 7th August US embassy blast of 1997 and as fate would have it, Kenya woke up to breaking news on the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport- international arrivals terminals being on fire. This incident that led to the temporary closure of the airport that left lots of international and local travelers stranded as Kenya’s authority engaged in putting off the fire.
Being the main transit point for most destinations across Africa and the world, the fire would be deemed as one the Kenya’s major disaster that is quite a blow to the tourism industry. August is Kenya high season month in the tourism calendar due to the wildebeest’s migration as they cross along the Mara River. Most hotels and camps within the Masai Mara game reserve experience highest boom of tourist visiting the reserve to experience this spectacular event. The fire had many international flights diverted to different airports that included Eldoret, Mombasa as well as the neighboring Tanzania. As a result, most hotels have experienced a lot of cancellations especially within the Maasai mara reserve.
Although local flights resumed later Wednesday afternoon, the losses incurred through cancellations are one that hoteliers and investors within the sector will have a headache coping with. The countries authority starting from the top most office must be applauded for their concerns on the tragedy. The fact that there were no casualties and no loss of life is another reason to applaud the rescue team and all authorizes involved. Nevertheless, the fire will in a great way affect the country’s main tourism season. We can only hope that once everything is restored, Kenya will continue enjoying large numbers of travelers visiting the country.
Facts on Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
- Formerly called Embakasi Airport and Nairobi International Airport
- Kenya’s largest aviation facility, and the busiest airport in East Africa. It’s importance as an aviation center makes it the pace setter for other airports in the region.
- Named after the first Kenyan prime minister and president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
- located in Embakasi, 15 kilometers to the south-east of the Nairobi Business District.
- JKIA has direct flight connections to Europe, the Middle East, Far East and the African Continent.