Airline highlights Kenyan charms
With the Royal Wedding just around the corner, all eyes are on Kenya where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton at a secluded wildlife reserve.
Long favoured by Hollywood movie stars and European royalty, Kenya has been targeted by Qatar Airways, which has teamed up with the Kenyan Tourism Board to promote the East African country as a tourist destination for travellers from Hong Kong and the mainland.
A bilingual website has been launched and, as part of the campaign, participants are able to send e-postcards with Kenyan themes to their families and friends.
'They entered a draw for the chance to win a Kenya tour package,' says Woo Yew Seong, country manager for Greater China at Qatar Airways.
'Many participants said they had a better understanding of Kenya after seeing the promotion and are planning to visit and explore nature and [experience the] culture.'
Some people taking part in the contest had already flown on the airline.
'Many participants shared with us their experience of flying Qatar Airways before,' Woo says.
Qatar operates 14 flights a week linking Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, with its hub in Doha. It has 23 scheduled flights to the region each week. In addition to Hong Kong, it serves Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai.
'Kenya is an ideal destination for adventurous travel,' Woo says. 'Kenya's tourist arrivals rose to 483,000 in the first half of last year, putting East Africa's largest economy on track to beat record foreign visitor numbers set in 2007.'
A similar promotion was launched in September last year in conjunction with the Spanish Tourism Office.
The airline will focus on its growing list of European destinations in the months ahead.
'Qatar Airways has a rapid expansion of its European network,' Woo says. 'Apart from the newly launched Bucharest, Budapest, Brussels and Stuttgart routes, we will add Venice on June 15, and our improved schedules to Manchester, Munich and Frankfurt will offer passengers more favourable schedules to Europe via our hub in Doha.'
With the addition of Aleppo, Syria, Qatar now flies to 100 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
Almost 20 per cent of Qatar Airways' global network is in Asia-Pacific, where it serves 17 destinations.
'Qatar Airways continues to set high benchmarks to remain competitive,' says Marwan Koleilat, Qatar Airways senior vice-president, commercial operations, East Asia and Southwest Pacific.
'Across Asia-Pacific, we have made significant inroads with our flights and increased capacity that provide us with extensive reach in one of the world's most important vibrant regions.'
With a fleet of 91 jets, Qatar Airways has an ambitious plan to acquire 200 new aircraft at a cost of US$40 billion. It will also spend US$14.5 billion to build an advanced new facility at Doha International Airport.
'Operating in a competitive market and service-led region of the world, Qatar Airways has set itself as an airline of choice,' says the airline's CEO, Akbar al-Baker.