Kenya Travellers Information (According to SASTM)
Kenya is ‘safer than ever’
The Kenyan government is taking significant measures to heighten security and put visitors at ease. This follows another terrorist attack, this time at the Garissa University College, in which 148 students were killed.
John Addison, director of Wild Frontiers, says although travellers should avoid the north of Kenya, the rest of the country is “probably safer than ever before”. He says: “The main game areas, like Masai Mara and the main coastal areas around Mombasa, have been well secured.”
Russel Jarvis, head of communications at Travelstart, says the Kenyan government is taking significant measures to heighten security and put visitors at ease. “Troops have been deployed to the areas where the latest attacks occurred as well as to known high-risk areas.”
Dr Ibrahim Mohamed, principal secretary for the Ministry of EA Affairs, Commerce and Tourism said in a statement: “To all those visitors here on holiday now, and those with planned trips in the coming days, we offer our reassurance that tourist destinations remain secure and we urge all visitors and operators to remain calm and continue with your plans. The main tourist areas are unaffected by this incident.”
Carel Verhoef, Discover Africa’s manager for East and Central Africa, says that, in general, people are trying to avoid Nairobi and the east coast but they are still asking to visit the key parks and reserves in the south west.
“There have been no incidents in any of Kenya’s parks or reserves. The Masai Mara, Amboseli, Rift Valley lakes and Loita Hills are still popular attractions for South African travellers,” Carel says. He adds: “We have had a spike in South Africans visiting Kenya over the last few months. Perhaps it is because of the release of SADC rates or because South Africans are making use of specials within the Kenyan safari product.” But not all operators are seeing this trend.
John Ridler, spokesperson for Cullinan Outbound Tourism, told Travel and Meetings Buyer that the Westgate Shopping Mall massacre in 2013 was a major blow to the country’s tourism industry. “We saw little recovery in interest for Kenya afterwards.”
He says the latest terrorist attack will certainly dissuade any potential clients from travelling to Kenya for the foreseeable future. “Unlike natural disasters, such as the tsunami in the Far East, terrorism is abhorrent and not easily forgotten.”
John Addison says Wild Frontiers hasn’t organised many Kenya trips over the past few months and that the recent terrorist attack will have a further impact on tourism, even though Garissa is far removed from any tourist areas.
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