The tourism industry in Kenya, which is the second-largest source of foreign exchange earnings after agriculture, is finally picking up after being brought to its knees by the pandemic.

On Sunday, Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa’s “Eurowings Discover” plane completed its maiden flight from Frankfurt to the Moi International Airport in Kenya’s southeastern coastal city of Mombasa.

The airline will operate two weekly direct flights from Frankfurt, Germany, to Mombasa in Kenya.

Speaking during a reception for the inaugural flight at the Moi International Airport Mombasa, Kenya’s Minister for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said the flight is proof that Kenya is making progress in tourism activities, which were minimal due to COVID-19 restrictions.

He added that the Kenyan coast was a popular destination for European tourists, adding the flight would create a link between Kenya and Europe.

“Kenya has been making great progress as a destination is attracting tourists from different markets, and especially from Europe. This flight is yet another milestone in the recovery of activities in the country,” Balala said.

“Europe is a market that offers us a different opportunity. With the vaccination of citizens, more people will be looking forward to traveling and we want to be ready for this,” Balala added.

Kenya Tourism Board CEO Betty Radier welcomed the new Eurowings Discover flight to Kenya, saying it signaled tourists’ growing confidence in the destination with regard to preparedness against COVID-19.

Game parks across Kenya are now full of tourists who partake in activities such as riding hot air balloons while looking at herds of elephants.

Kaycee Donnelly, a hot air balloon pilot from the Kilimanjaro balloon safaris, told Anadolu Agency: “We have had a very rough year, that is last year, and things are getting better quite quickly. The world is opening up, and we are starting to see international tourists again.”

Hotels and other hospitality industries that had sent workers home due to the economic effects of the pandemic are rehiring.

Kenyans have also joined foreign tourists to watch the July spectacle of the wildebeest migration in the Mara in Kenya, the 8th Wonder of the World.

The World Bank in June said that Kenya’s economy this year is set to grow by 4.5% as industries such as farming and tourism recover from the pandemic.​​​​​​​

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