Kenya hit by new travel warnings

2014-05-14 16:16


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Nairobi - Several countries have stepped up their warnings against travel to Kenya's restive port city of Mombasa following a wave of attacks and unrest linked to Islamist extremists.

Advice from Britain, France and Australia to their nationals to avoid the coastal city deals a fresh blow to Kenya's already embattled tourism sector, as avoiding Mombasa complicates travel to nearby beach resorts.

Britain's Foreign Office on Wednesday became the latest this week to warn against "all but essential travel to Mombasa", citing "recent terrorist attacks and the continuing terrorist threat in the area."

Australia also updated its travel advice, urging its nationals to "reconsider their need to travel" to both Mombasa and the capital Nairobi, which has also been hit by a wave of bombings in recent weeks.

France also advised against non-essential travel to Mombasa city, and urged extra vigilance during stays in the nearby beach resort of Diani situated to the south of the city.

Last month Kenya confirmed that the number of foreign visitors to the country - a top safari and beach destination - slumped by 11 percent in 2013, when the country was gripped by fears of election-related political violence.

The current year is expected to also see a massive drop, particularly in the wake of the September 2013 attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi that was claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels and left at least 67 dead.

Tourism is a crucial part of Kenya's economy: according to the most recent figures from 2011, the sector directly or indirectly accounted for 14 percent of economic output and roughly 12 percent of the workforce.

Kenya has been targeted by the Shebab since sending troops to war-torn Somalia in 2011 to fight them.

Read more on:    kenya  |  travel international

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