tourism industry in strife-torn Kenya has been dealt a blow from a
large number of cancellations from European charter flights to
Kenya after the U.K., France, Germany and Italy all issued
stringent travel advisories for non-essential travel to Kenya.
operators, meanwhile, said they were continuing to see minimal
cancellations on their departures.
advisories, including one from the U.S. State Dept., were put in
place after violent and deadly political unrest broke out after
Kenya's presidential elections in late December.
According to Jake
Grieves-Cook, spokesman for the Kenya Tourism Federation and
managing director of Gamewatchers Safaris in Kenya, most of the
major European charter companies, such as those operated by TUI and
Corsair, have a policy of canceling their flights when their
governments have issued a strict travel warning.
they're very much linked to the Mombasa coastal beach resorts," he
said, adding that the area is heavily frequented by European
tourists, not Americans.
that the Mombasa region had experienced a cancellation rate as high
as 90%, and a potential loss to the tourism industry there of
around $45 million.
"The longer [the
travel advisories are] in place, the longer the hotels at the coast
are not able to receive charter passengers, the harder it may be
for them to get back," said Grieves-Cook. "If [the advisories are]
all lifted by next week, things should be back to normal in a
relatively short period."
added, Germany and Italy have relaxed the wording of their
appear to be continuing with their Kenya vacations, despite
unsettling news images and reports of bloodshed and civil
So far, the North
American market is averaging about 1% to 4% cancellations on
previously booked trips to Kenya, according to Maisa Fernandez,
public relations manager at the Kenya Tourist Board.
According to the KTB,
the major conflict zones that tourists should avoid are Eldoret,
Kericho, Kakamega and Kisumu, as well as slum areas on the
outskirts of Nairobi. The KTB emphasized that "these are not areas
normally visited by tourists as part of their safari
contact reporter Michelle Baran, send e-mail to [email protected].