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Kenya tightens security in tourist resorts as high season begins

22 August 2016, 15:42

Nairobi (Xinhua) -- Kenyan authorities on Thursday announced elaborate security measures in the tourism resorts in the coastal city as high season kicked off in August.

According to tourism stakeholders, bookings for hotels at the Coast are increasing with the onset of the August season, giving hope to the recovery of the tourism sector.

Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa told journalists in Mombasa that the police have increased patrols at key installations that might be targeted by Al-Shabaab group.

Marwa said more security officers will be deployed during the Mombasa international show, cultural festivals, and among others activities lined up in Mombasa this month.

"We have mapped areas likely to prone to attacks and attached more officers. Our intelligence team has increased information gathering to deal with Al-Shabaab threats," Marwa said.

His remarks came the East African bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), warned that Al-Shabaab group is plotting major attacks in East Africa.

IGAD said that the militant group has grown and expanded its aspirations, operations and aims, and is preparing to wage a long war in East Africa.

In a report published early this week, IGAD labeled the military group as now a "transnational" organization projecting threats of extremist violence far beyond Somalia.

"Even if Al-Shabaab were to be defeated tomorrow, I think it has inspired a generation of jihadists from across the region, from different countries, who are likely to continue," said Matt Bryden, a director and senior analyst for the Sahan Foundation, which conducted IGAD's regional study on Al-Shabaab.

Bryden warned that if the threat from the insurgent group is to be countered, regional countries have to attack the group's bases inside Somalia, where plots are orchestrated.

"Seizing their bases disrupts their administration and sources of revenue. They will be busy as fugitives, hiding, and cannot execute all the plots inside and outside the country," he said.

Kenya's tourism has suffered a decline the number of tourists arriving since September 2011 when the Al-Shabaab carried out the kidnappings of tourists in the Lamu archipelago.

The East African nation's coastal towns are the backbone of the country's thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners.

Speaking on Thursday, the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC), said hotel occupancy in the region is expected to go up to 60 percent from the 10 percent that most hotels recorded between May and June.

"International and domestic tourists have made reservations for holiday packages, we expect more domestic tourism this season because of the calm witnessed due to improved security," KAHC CEO Sam Ikwaye said.

Ikwaye said hoteliers are also counting on the revised travel advisories by key markets of the Britain, the U.S. and France, which are expected to boost international arrivals into the country.

- Xinhua


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