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Tourism Board welcomes UK’s lifting of Lamu travel advisory

The Lamu tourism industry has been had hit ever since a British national was killed and his wife kidnapped by Somali militants back in 2011/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – Kenya’s tourism industry has welcomed the lifting of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) travel advisory for Lamu Island and Manda Island that was announced this week by the UK Government.

The announcement is expected to increase number of tourists as the tourism sector continues to recover.

“This latest announcement means visitors to Kenya have the opportunity to visit this unspoilt area of the coastline, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lamu Old Town, the oldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa,” says Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Chairman, Jimi Kariuki.

Both areas are now open for access by air via Manda Airstrip.

Airlines serving this airport include Air Kenya, Safarilink, Fly 540 and Jambojet from Nairobi, and Mombasa Air Safari from Mombasa.

Kenya’s coastline offers 500km of tranquil Indian Ocean beaches and the announcement expands the current coastal product offering.

Other popular areas of Kenya’s coastline include: Mombasa Island, Nyali Beach, Bamburi Beach, Shanzu Beach, Mtwapa Kakambala, Vipingo Kilifi, Watamu Malindi among others.

The UK government had issued the travel ban citing a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping.

“The main threat comes from extremists linked to Al Shabaab, a militant group that has carried out attacks in Kenya in response to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia,” UK advised.

Tourism was the best performer in the first half of 2016 growing by 15 per cent according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

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The sector is expected to fully recover in 2018 as it takes a slight hit from the General Election.

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