23 November 2012

Kenya: Insecurity to Tourism Sector Hard

Nairobi — The Tourism industry has warned that rising terror attacks and incidents like the killing of 48 policemen in Samburu could lead to a huge drop in visitor arrivals during the December holiday season.

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia say many hotels are already experiencing fewer bookings than expected for international tourists.

"Things are honestly not looking good. Police killings especially in such a huge number are not good at all for the sector. Even if insecurity cases are not in all areas of the country, the international community gets a different picture," Macharia said.

Speaking to Capital FM Business, Macharia said the low arrivals can also be attributed to the fact that many tourists did not make early bookings since Kenya's elections are traditionally held in December.

"Some of the tourist book a year or two years before. So most planned to not to come to Kenya until elections were over. Now that they are in March, you can guess when they will start coming," he added.

Unreliability of the ferry crossing to the South Coast is also a downside for the sector.

In the recent past, most of the hotels have been forced to come up with ideas with the use Internet to woo visitors, both local and international.

From January to August this year tourist arrivals declined by 2.6 percent to 807,737 compared with last year's 829,479.

The big blow was felt in Mombasa, where numbers declined by 22.4 percent year on year from 156,521 to 121,472.

Nairobi's arrivals however increased by 2.1 percent from 672.372 to 686.265.

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