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Terrorist attacks spell doom for businessmen

23 April 2015, 10:34 Ann Mutinda

Nairobi - Recurrent terrorist attacks in Kenya have continued to affect tourism-related businesses in Nakuru town, the once fastest growing peri-urban centre in East and Central Africa.

The town, recognised by UN-Habitat in 2011 as one with high social and economic growth rate, hosts various tourist sites including the world renowned Lake Nakuru National Park, a sanctuary for rhinos in the country.

Tertiary businesses such as hotels and curio trading directly benefit from the presence of tourists.

But the threat of Al Shabaab in the country has continued to lower their profits as numbers of the foreign guests shrink.

“Since last year when the heat of the terrorist attacks started being felt so deeply, we have received a reduced number of  foreign tourists in our stalls," said  Muthini Kimonyi who chairs an association for curio traders, Nakuru Central Jua Kali Association.

“Usually, they come in turns. Each month, there are some who pass by but we haven’t seen any since late January,” added the curio trader in the interview on Wednesday.

Kimonyi’s fears are further worsened by the April 2 attack on Garissa University College that claimed 148 lives.

Read Also: Tourism industry braces for more misery after Garissa attack

“I was hoping that by the end of this month, a number would start showing up but with Garissa attack, I am afraid they will be reluctant to come,” expressed his fears.

For Paul Mwangangi, a manager at Nakuru’s Top Cliff hotel which hosts more than 20 foreign visitors during this period, things are bad.

“It is bad news. Right now (April), I have booked only four guests from abroad. This is so low compared to the previous years when the number was more than 20,” he noted.

95 percent of the foreign visitors buying the curios and checking into the luxurious hotels in Nakuru are the tourists enroute to Lake Nakuru National Park and Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Last year, 381 000 tourists arrived in Kenya compared to 398 000 in the previous year according to data from Kenya Tourism Board.

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