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Global analytics firm predicts minimal travel disruption to Nairobi after attack

The Westgate attack in 2013, which lasted for seven days, had an immediate impact on both international flight bookings and physical arrivals, but the effects faded after about 6 weeks.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – Travel analytics firm ForwardKeys predicts that the impact of the terrorist attack at 14 Riverside will have minimal impact on tourism to Kenya and that any setback in visitor arrivals will last less than two weeks.

The global firm, which forecasts future travel patterns by analyzing 17 million booking transactions a day, based its prediction on an analysis of the attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in 2013 and by analyzing similar terrorist incidents.

The Westgate attack, which lasted for seven days, had an immediate impact on both international flight bookings and physical arrivals, but the effects faded after about 6 weeks.

During the week of the Westgate attack, international bookings to Kenya dropped by 64.6 percent, said ForwardKeys.

“This negative trend continued until the week of 19th October. During this 6 week-period, international bookings were 29 percent lower than in the equivalent period the year before.”

Bookings picked-up in November; for the period 26th-October to 29th November, they grew 3.5 percent benchmarked against the same period in 2012.

With regard to international arrivals in Kenya, the impact was less.

“They started to drop from September 24th and the trend continued until October 5th. Over this 12-day period, international arrivals decreased by 9.3 percent. However, for the rest of the month (6-31 October) arrivals grew by 5.4 percent,” states the firm.

Olivier Ponti, the Vice President of Insights at ForwardKeys said the scale and impact of the 14 Riverside attack is significantly less than the Westgate terror attack, “which means that the incident has received far less media attention.”

“Of course it is likely that had the attack on Westgate been foiled in advance, there would have been no setbacks in bookings and arrivals and the growth in tourism would have continued even more strongly. However, the bottom line is that within less than two weeks, tourism to Kenya returned to growth,” said Ponti.

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Ponti added that it is also significant that all the terrorists have been killed because the possibility of the same perpetrators striking again has been eliminated.

The 14 Riverside attack on Tuesday claimed 21 lives with the terrorists neutralized within 24 hours compared to the drawn-out Westgate terrorist attacks that claimed 67 lives.

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