UK travel respite to Malindi, Watamu welcomed

October 29, 2015
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Ongalo says the impact will however be felt in the early months of 2016 as tourism is forward contracted/FILE
Ongalo says the impact will however be felt in the early months of 2016 as tourism is forward contracted/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 29 – The Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) has welcomed the move by the United Kingdom to remove its advice against all but essential travel to Malindi and Watamu.respite

The Kenya Tourism Federation Acting Chief Executive Susan Ongalo says the move brings forth hope to the ailing sector that has experienced a significant drop due to insecurity in the country.

Ongalo says the impact will however be felt in the early months of 2016 as tourism is forward contracted.

“The move is a big plus; it builds confidence and raises hope for the sector to fully recover especially during the high season from April to June 2016,” Ongalo told Capital FM Business.

She said with the appointments of boards in tourism related parastatals, especially the marketing body, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), the sky is the limit for the sector.

“Security organs should be on high alert to protect the gains we have made so far in securing the country, and maintain the situation as it is,” she said.

Between January and May, compared to the same period last year, Kenya’s tourist numbers dipped by 25 percent with the biggest decline coming from the United Kingdom.

That is according to the Kenya Tourism Board which reported that the number of visitors to Kenya from the UK decreased by 35 percent to 36,022.

The UK has traditionally been one of Kenya’s biggest tourist source markets but the numbers have steadily declined over the last few years.

The UK has removed its advice against all but essential travel to Malindi and Watamu.

According to the Foreign Commonwealth Office, this follows a review of risk posed to visitors from the UK in that part of the country.

In June, the UK government also revised its advice against all but essential travel to Mombasa and Kilifi.

Lamu, Garissa and Eastleigh however remain flagged as no-go areas for UK citizens.

On his part, KTB Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa says the move is a major boost to the strategies already in motion to improve the tourism sector that is now picking up.

“This positive news is coming a month before the coming of Pope to Kenya. It is a positive endorsement and recognition of government’s efforts in improvement security for both citizens and tourists alike” Ndegwa said.

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