Kenya: Tourism Arrivals Fall 13.6% During First Six Months of 2014, Avoid Non-Essential Travel
According to AFP,
international tourist arrivals to Kenya fell 13.6% in the first half of this
year, following a string of attacks blamed on Somali Islamist insurgents,
official figures showed Thursday (October 16).
Official data from
Kenya Tourism Board said arrivals totaled 428,585 in the six months to June
compared to 495,978 visitors over the corresponding period last year.
"The numbers have
spoken; we performed very badly due to the insecurity experienced, especially
at the Kenyan Coast," Sam Ikwaye, executive officer of the Kenya
Association of Hotelkeepers and Catererstold AFP.
"We have lost the
whole year," he said, explaining that the forecasts for the remainder of
2014 "are not looking good."
On the Kenyan coast,
the scene of recent killings, hoteliers said business is "even worse than
the figures reveal."
"We are operating
at 60-70% down compared to last year," said Harald Kampa of the Diani Sea
Lodge and Diani Sea Resort.
COMMENT: There are
four justifiable reasons for foreign travelers to avoid non-essential visits to
a.The ineffectiveness of the Kenyan Police Force;
b.The success and effectiveness of al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based terror group;
c.The fact that several foreign tourists have been shot and killed in
Kenya by unknown assailants; and
d.The inability of the Kenyan government to render the country safe for
Let it be known that I
strongly discourage lengthy essential travel in Kenya, providing that business
travelers adhere to the following criteria:
-- Remain in Kenya only long enough to conduct business
-- Avoid Mombasa;
-- Seek accommodations only in 4-and-5-star properties;
-- Consume all meals in selected 4-and-5-star properties;
-- Restrict all business meetings to the hotel of choice; and
-- Transport to and from the international airport should be scheduled no more than 30
minutes ahead of time and only with a driver from the hotel of choice.
Tourism is critical to
East Africa's largest economy, generating some 11% of GDP and accounting
between 9-10% of employment, according to the Kenya Tourism Board.
Kenya has suffered a
series of brutal attacks, especially on the coast, since the 2013 Nairobi
Westgate Mall siege, where 67 people were killed.
linked al-Shebaab insurgents claimed responsibility for the attacks, including
the assault on the Westgate mall:
I retired from the US State Department in April 2006, after a career as a special agent, Senior Regional Security Officer (SRSO), director of training, chief investigator of the Cyprus Missing Persons Program, director of security of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and as a senior adviser in the Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance.
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