Terrorism threats: US, Europe travel advisories hurt Kenya's tourism

EVANS KANINI By EVANS KANINI, 3rd Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/34ehf0in/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Superpowers issue travel warnings to its citizens, culminating in the evacuation of hundreds of tourists despite insistence by the Kenyan government that all is well in this East African country

Affected

The threat of terrorism in Kenya has adversely affected tourism in this East African country following a decision by the superpowers and its allies to issue travel advisories to its citizens.

Evacuated

Hundreds of tourists have been evacuated, particularly from the Kenyan coastal hotels, as hoteliers complained of huge losses running into millions following the travel warnings.

Last week, Britain evacuated 500 of its citizens from coastal hotels, dealing a fatal blow to hoteliers who loudly complained of a serious slump in business and jobs of thousands of employees were in jeopardy.

Tourism still remains the second largest foreign exchange earner for Kenya, with the country's economy relying heavily on tourist funds for economic sustainability after agriculture.

Kenyan government officials said there was no cause for alarm and assured tourists that the country was still safe to visit.

But the US, UK, France and Australian governments still went ahead and issued travel warnings, badly hurting tourism as many tourists were evacuated.

It was a curious and vicious cycle of events to watch. Here, the Kenya government insists that all is well in Kenya, and that peace is abundant.

But the superpowers and their allies, revered for their mighty technological advancement, think otherwise and issue travel alerts to its citizens as evacuation of the foreigners touring Kenya takes center stage.

The result?

A slow down in business especially in Kenya's coastal region, the epicenter of tourism, owing to amazing sceneries and splendid beaches.

Vilification

The superpowers and their allies end up being subjected to public vilification by Kenya government stalwarts over their action, deemed as detrimental to Kenya's economic growth.

However, the superpowers and their allies maintain a studious silence as if nothing is zilch. They stick to their travel advisories.

In a recent statement, Phyllis Kandie, the Kenya government cabinet secretary, EAC Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, said: “ We wish to assure tourists that Kenya is peaceful and our security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that every one is safe.

The US, UK, France and Australia advised its against visiting Kenya's main coastal city of Mombasa and popular beaches and some parts of Nairobi, owing to growing threats from terrorism.

More than 600,000 Kenyans are directly employed in tourism, which provides 12.5 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mainstay

Safari and wildlife areas are not affected by the new advisories, but coastal tourism is a mainstay and many tour operators say they fear a collapse in bookings following the warnings.

"The advisories therefore are obviously unfriendly acts coming from our partners who have equally borne the brunt of global terrorism and no doubt understand the repercussions of the terror menace," Kenya government spokesmen maintained.

There have been a series of small bomb and grenade attacks on churches, including one in Mombasa, buses and close to a bar on a beach north of the coastal city.

Hundreds of tourists' existing planned holidays were cancelled and new bookings seemed unlikely all through.

And protests grew.

Issuance of such travel advisories aim is to spread fear and panic among otherwise peace loving people, Kenya government officials said.

Resolve

They contended that the travel advisories only served in strengthening the resolve of the Al-Qaeda-linked elements to stage more attacks, buoyed by the fact that their war was yielding fruits, for isn't their objective not to shatter their target's economic fabric?

In the midst of these dramatic developments, came an interesting voice from the private secretary of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.

Jomo Gecaga, argued in an article in a leading daily:

"We can't force foreigners to come back, but we can take their place and become local tourists. Forget US and Europe, we are our own best friends".

Jomo, Kenyatta's private secretary, went on:

"The tourists we need are us. We must defeat the notion that tourists can only be foreigners and realize that we are sitting on treasures that people far off pay lots of money to see, here at home. This might be the final frontier of the freedom struggle- Kenyans touristically owning their country. I therefore urge Kenyans to realize that we are the tourists we need. It is time to enjoy this magnificent country. Rise up, therefore, and bring back our tourism."

Nagging question

Fine, but how many Kenyans can afford it, bearing in mind that 90 percent of them are steeped in the low income bracket?



Tags

Touring, Tourism, Tourist Attraction And Tourist, Tourist Attractions, Tourist Destination, Tourists

Meet the author

author avatar EVANS KANINI
Kenyan journalist writing on issues of education, health, environment, agriculture, water, democracy, human rights and governance.

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Comments

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th Jun 2014 (#)

Countries have to have zero tolerance for terrorism. Indonesia took severe action after the Bali bombings showing they meant business. It is sad in some countries the 1% gets emboldened taking the silence of 99% as their approval for their dastardly deeds that kill and maim innocents - siva

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author avatar EVANS KANINI
4th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks Siva for your comments. Good day!

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