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Tourism Activities Continues in Kenya Despite Terror Attack
The Statement by Cabinet Secretary EAC Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Mrs. Phyllis Kandie following the attack on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday 21/09/2013, leading to loss of 62 lives and over 150 people injured said that ‘We wish to assure tourists that Kenya is peaceful and our security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that everyone is safe. Visitors are thus welcome to visit all our tourist facilities across the country which is operating normally. Tour operators and travel agents have confirmed that tourism activities continue uninterrupted. The government has also scaled up security in other social places across the country. Consequently we are extending a hand of welcome to all those arriving from tomorrow to Kenya to attend two critical conferences namely; Africa Hotel and Investment Forum and the Eco tourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference taking place in Nairobi ahead of other upcoming international events to be hosted in the country.’
A statement by Taleb Rifai, Secretary General on behalf of the World Tourism Organization, and of the international tourism community said, ‘I would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the Westgate atrocious attack as well as to the government of Kenya in this tragic moment. Kenya is a leading tourism destination which has before shown the extraordinary resilience of its tourism sector. It is important that the international community stands by Kenya at this important moment. Tourism is one of the backbones of Kenya’s society and economy and it is now more important than ever to support the tourism sector in Kenya. UNWTO expresses its full support and commitment to the tourism sector in Kenya. Events of this nature tend to have an ever short-lived impact on destinations and we believe Kenya will continue to count on its solid tourism sector to make it the destination of excellence it is today. ‘
Following the directive by Mrs. Kandie, tourist activities in most parts of the country continue as normal without any security breaches being reported. Hoteliers along the Coast beaches have continued to do what they do best. They have put up sun beds along the beach adjacent to their properties, introduced full waiter services to enable clients get served at the beach. Under the beach management programme championed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), frequent patrols have been initiated; daily beach clean-up exercise and reorganization of beach vendors making the beach friendly to tourists.
“It was fantastic to see the beach fully occupied by clients enjoying the beach life without being hassled by anyone,” Catrin Schwerring General Manager Bahari Beach Hotel Mombasa, said.
KWS has started a Sh150 million six-month pilot beach management programme to revive Kenya's coastal area as key tourist destination. The programme aims at restoring the competitive edge of Kenya’s coastal area as a tourism destination while ensuring that the marine and beach tourism products are sustained.
Kenya Tourist Board (KTB) managing director Muriithi Ndegwa says the beach product is a key attraction to the coast and termed the renewed efforts to improve the product laudable. “This Programme is expected to address some of the emerging threats to beach tourism in Kenya which include harassment of tourists, beach insecurity, beach degradation and youth unemployment” said the managing director.