5 February 2014

Kenya: Tourism Sector Worried By Mombasa Violence

Photo: Bosire Boniface/Sabahi
Police made numerous arrests at the Masjid Mussa mosque.

TOURISM players at the Coast have expressed concern about the two days of unrest in Mombasa town. They said it will have a negative impact on the sector.

Mombasa and Coast Tourists Association chief executive officer Millicent Odhiambo yesterday said the skirmishes might affect tourists' turnout in the region.

Speaking to the Star on the phone, Odhiambo said such incidents always affect tourism whenever they are reported. "Currently we are struggling to reclaim our lost glory and these incidents are doing us more harm than good," she said.

Odhiambo urged the government to help bring calmness in the region so that they can attract more tourists. She said it is very hard to convince someone to pay for a visit to a country which experiences problems every time.

Odhiambo said it is unfortunate that countries like Tanzania and Uganda are doing much better in tourism than Kenya. "We once used to be tourism giants in the region, but we are slowly losing it," she said.

The Kenya Youth Alliance national chair Meshack Kimutai said many youths working in the tourism sector are likely to lose their job if travel advisories are issued against Kenya. He said with the recent incidents in the region tourist will divert to Tanzania.

"For us to attain three million tourists per year by 2017, security has to be boosted," Kimutai said.He said travel advisories from major markets due to insecurity reduce the number of tourists leading to low turnout.

Kimutai urged the state to step up a 24-hour security measures at the Coast. He said the reason many youths engage in crime is unemployment.

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