Kenya welcomes lifting of travel warning by US
21 October 2015, 21:36
Mombasa - Kenya's tourism
stakeholders have welcomed the lifting travel advisory by the U.S. government
it had issued to its citizens against visiting most parts of Kenya's coastal
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) said
on Wednesday the move will assist in the revival of the tourist sector that had
suffered due to the travel advisory.
The association's Chief Executive Sam Ikwaye said it will be
easy for Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) to target both Britain and U.S. as part of
vigorous marketing strategy.
The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi stated that travel restrictions
to Malindi, Mombasa and Kwale counties up to the Tanzanian border have been
lifted in a move that may prove beneficial to the area's tourism industry.
Restrictions have, however, been placed on any travel to
towns near Kenya's border with Somalia, with citizens cautioned against using
the Likoni Ferry Services in Mombasa.
The American government has also cautioned those visiting
Old Town in Mombasa, saying they should do so only during the day.
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The travel advisories were issued in May with the government
advising against travel to Eastleigh area in Nairobi and coastal counties of
Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu.
Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner for Kenya, which
has famed serene beaches that charm many Western tourists.
However, a three-year decline in tourist arrivals has seen
thousands lose jobs and the local currency decline to a three-year low.
The East African nation received 177,085 tourists in the
first quarter of 2015 while in the second, the number stood at 170,313, the
tourist board figures showed.
In 2014, the number of tourists who visited Kenya in the
first quarter stood at 255,965 while in the second 172,258.
During the first half of the year, Kenya witnessed a spate
of terrorist attacks perpetuated by the Somali militant group the Al-Shabaab
with the worst happening at Garissa University, where 147 people, including
students, were killed.
Ikwaye disclosed that over 40, 000 people lost their jobs
after more than 20 hotels in the coast were shut down due to the effect of the
advisory issued by Britain and U.S. following frequent terrorist attacks.
Kenya Coast Tourists Association chairman Mohammed Hersi
said the lifting of the advisory by America which is one of the source markets
for Kenya was long over due.
Hersi also called for the lifting of non tariff barriers for
international flights landing at Moi International Airport.
They said the non tariff barriers imposed on Qatar Airways
and Etihad Airways are affecting tourism business at the Coast.
Hersi said the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority should allow
all the international airlines to land and take off from Mombasa in order to
revive the sector.