Crystal Skye, a luxury Boeing 777, will take its maiden flight from Hong Kong to Kenya at the end of September. Passengers on the 10-day trip, a so-called “air cruise,” will be waited on by butlers and served Michelin-star quality food.
The plane, which can hold up to 450 people, will only carry 86 elite travelers who pay 4.7 million Kenyan shillings (about USD 45,000) each.
The private jet tour operated by a Hong Kong airliner, Genting, is targeted specifically at China’s wealthy tourists who are increasingly coming to Africa. The trip coincides with China’s seven-day holiday in October, better known as “golden week” when much of the country’s middle class travel.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya are among several countries targeting Chinese tourists—the world’s largest outbound tourism market. Airlines like China Southern and Kenya Airways operate flights every day between China and Kenya. Several Chinese tour operators have outfits based in Kenya. Now, most signs in the Masai Mara park are written in English and Chinese.
Luxury jet tours are another level. The cost of a ticket on the Crystal Skye is more than 38 times the country’s gross national income of USD 1,160 per capita.
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