UK , France and The US issued travel advisories followed by evacuation orders for their people visiting Kenya over the weekend. Over 500 foreigners left Mombasa between Thursday and Sunday following the issue of the advisories. Britain went as far as sending to Thompson airline flights to carry out the evacuation orders.
This is a major setback for tourism in Kenya which Yatich Kagungo the Mombasa Moi Airport manager believes is still a safe destination, and UK is wrong to issue such hasty advisories. TUI travel a travel group on the London stock exchange has also suspended all trips to Kenya following the advisories, but according to Mr. Kagungu o negotiations are ongoing with TUI and other travel groups with them to lift suspension on trips to Kenya.
Tourism in Kenya has suffered a number of setbacks in the past one year due to insecurity and has resulted in the closure of some hotels due to shortage of market. Where Kenya was one of the most frequented safari destination in Africa, tourists have now replaced it with other destinations. Safaris in Tanzania for example have become a bit more popular Kenya’s insecurity woes started. It is a close substitute destination for many.
According to Mombasa county commissioner, Mr. Nelson Marwa, all installations in the region have been secured and there is no need to be alarmed. He said that security in the malls, airports, and the Likoni ferry has been beefed up and that Mombasa is safe.
Hotel owners and other tourism stakeholders along the coast of Kenya are very disappointed and discouraged by the turn of events. They all believe that Kenya is now safe and secure and that the advisories were unnecessary.
.According to the executive officer of the Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers, these travel advisories simply means that the terrorists have achieved their goal of disturbing the peace and spreading fear. He thinks Britain should share its intelligence with Kenya, so that Kenyans are also saved from impending terrorist attacks.
The advisories have effectively put some tourism stake holders in precarious business situations and are bound to result in more unemployment as hotels lodges and other tour companies try to make ends meet and survive by laying off some workers.
Most of the tourism stakeholders in Kenya are hoping that Britain will rescind the advisory very soon and save Kenya’s economy which quite dependent on its tourism sector.
This is the first ever travel advisory to Kenya which was followed by evacuation orders