, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 1 – President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Wednesday that Kenya was fed up with the continued travel advisories issued by some western countries despite an improvement of security in the country.
The president said it was unfair for Western countries to continue issuing travel warnings yet terrorism was a threat being faced by the whole world, including major European capitals.
“The travel advisories being issued by our friends are not genuine. I have not heard of any travel advisory issued to those visiting Paris, which recently experienced a terror attack,” The President said during a town hall session at the Kenya Diaspora Easter Investment Conference.
This comes after the United Kingdom on Friday updated its travel advisory for Kenya cautioning against all but essential travel to the Coast, from Tiwi in Kwale County all the way up to the border with Somalia.
Areas now affected by the travel advice include Mombasa Island, Moi International Airport, and Malindi, Kilifi and Watamu resort towns.
President Kenyatta said Kenya would reach out to more Africans, saying the future of tourism would be guaranteed by intra-Africa travel. He urged the Kenyan Diaspora, especially those in Africa to be champions of Kenya in their resident countries.
“We consider you our frontline diplomats, we encourage you to woo more tourists and investors. Those who do not want to come, let them not come, after all United States President Barack Obama is coming to Nairobi an indication that the country is safe, “ the President said.
Kenya will co-host the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi with the government of the US from July 24 to July 26. This will be the first visit by a sitting US President to Kenya.
During his visit President Obama is expected to hold bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta which will include the security situation in this region.
Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa said the visit by President Obama is a big endorsement on Kenya as a conferencing destination as the country prepares to be the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to host the annual Summit which was launched in 2009.
Close to 25,000 people have lost jobs in the last one year in the coastal region owing to the travel advisories issued by western nations and still in force.
According to the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia, most of the hotels are operating at bed occupancy of between 18 and 20 percent hence being forced to lay-off staff.
“Our estimates now are looking at between 25,000 to 30,000 so far in Mombasa alone and it could be more as we progress. It’s almost a year since the cancellations began and with all those cancellations and no new bookings the situation looks pretty bad,” Macharia told Capital FM Business.