Kenya ministry of tourism: A despicable act of cowardice

2013-09-25 11:43
Nairobi - Kenya's ministry of tourism says security agencies are stepping up security measures and doing everything possible to ensure the safety of those arriving for two critical conferences to be held in Nairobi from Thursday, namely the Africa Hotel and Investment Forum and the Eco tourism and sustainable tourism conference.

A cornerstone of Kenya's economy, the billion-dollar tourism industry accounts for 12.5% of the economy and provides one in 10 jobs. There is concern that the industry could see a drop in visitors following the bloody siege of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi on Saturday by Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants, which claimed the lives of an estimated 137 people.

"We wish to assure tourists that Kenya is peaceful,"  said Phyllis Kandie, Cabinet Secretary, EAC Affairs, Commerce and Tourism.

"The tourism sector joins other Kenyans in condoling the bereaved families including those of foreigners who have lost their lives during the unfortunate West gate attacks. The attack was a despicable act of cowardice intended to instill fear among Kenyans and our visitors, but the attackers must never be allowed to have their way," said Kandie.

According to the statement tour operators and travel agents have confirmed that tourism activities continue uninterrupted.

The government has nonetheless scaled up security in other social places across the country, even though Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the siege finally over on Tuesday.

In an earlier report David Scowsill, head of the World Travel & Tourism Council, urged the government to reassure travellers about safety when headed to the largely peaceful country.

Scowsill said previous examples of major attacks or natural disasters in other countries gave a rough idea of what could happen to the tourism market.

"With these kinds of incidents, it does take a dip, typically for two or three months, then it starts to return again

"I would expect within six months, it will be absolutely back to normal again, assuming all the communications are right and of course there is no further incident," he said.

Read more on:    kenya  |  east africa  |  travel international  |  kenya mall attack

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