WASHINGTON -- Following the Friday bombings of U.S. embassies in
Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, the U.S. State
Department issued warnings against travel to both countries.
Meanwhile, agents and operators specializing in Africa
considered the impact on their business.
Travelogue International, an agency here that services many
Africa-bound clients, said it had hunting groups in Tanzania.
Although confident that the groups were far from the bomb blast in
Dar-es-Salaam, Travelogue's Barbara Wolbrink said the firm was
monitoring the situation closely. The incidents "could have more
impact on Kenya than on Tanzania," Wolbrink speculated. "[It could]
really screw up Kenya's photo safaris."
A spokesman for Abercrombie & Kent, one of the largest tour
operators to Kenya, which is entering its tourism high season, said
the firm has several tours "in the bush, and, at the moment, our
tours are still operating." He said transfers from the Nairobi
airport have been rerouted to avoid the site of the blast. The
spokesman, reached prior to the State Department's warnings, said
A&K would redirect traffic around Kenya in the event of a
Dennis Pinto, managing director of New York-based Micato
Safaris, said some of his clients were sightseeing in Nairobi about
the time of the explosion but were not aware of the incident until
they returned to their hotels. "[We've] given them an opportunity
to contact their friends and family back here," Pinto said. "Our
aim is to give people as much information as we know and that has
seemed to keep everyone very calm."
Pinto said he expected little impact on tourism. "I don't see
this being a situation that will trigger wide-scale cancellations,"
he said, adding that he had no cancellations for the seven tours
slated to depart for Kenya on Friday.
More than 70 people were killed and hundreds injured in the two
blasts. At press time, there were no reports of tourists being
among the dead or injured.
The State Department set up a telephone number, (202) 647-0900,
to handle urgent queries related to the American embassy bombing
and travel to Kenya.
Michael Milligan and Michele McDonald contributed to this