Industry rallies in support of Kenya tourism

Industry rallies in support of Kenya tourism

Travel organisations have rallied round to support tourism to Kenya in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.

UNWTO secretary general, Taleb Rifai extended the organisation’s deep condolences to the families and friends of the 67 victims of the attack.

He reconfirmed Kenya as a leading destination whose tourism sector has previously shown extraordinary resilience and stressed the importance of the international community’s support.

Tourism is Kenya’s second largest industry and the UK is the number one market to Kenya.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has increased security across the country while a full forensic investigation into this attack takes place underway, the Kenya Tourism Board said.

Robert Ferguson, director of Real Africa said, “None of our clients have cancelled their safaris.

"Those already in Kenya were contacted by our local staff and were happy to continue and those due to depart were contacted by our UK staff and all left on schedule.

“We rarely have clients overnighting in Nairobi and know it is important to keep clients informed, with the aid of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice.”

Imagine Africa managing director Ben Morison said: “The response by our customers was overwhelmingly understanding, and I am pleased to report that to date we have not had a single cancellation, and indeed, in the past week have confirmed several holidays to Kenya by both families and couples alike.”

Ash Sofat, chief executive of Somak Holidays said: “We have customers on safari, and we have contacted them to inform them about the incident. It won’t affect their holiday plans and they are all staying on.”

The Eco Tourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference and the African Hotel Investment Forum both took place as planned last week and the country is preparing to host other events next month, including the World Travel Awards on October 16 and the Magical Kenya Travel Expo on October 18–20.

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