WASHINGTON -- The State Department lifted its week-old warnings
against travel to Kenya and Tanzania but advised travelers to
exercise caution while visiting the east African countries.
The warnings, issued on Aug. 7, also had recommended that all
U.S. citizens depart Kenya and Tanzania after terrorist attacks on
embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam claimed more than 200
U.S. Tour Operators Association president Robert Whitley said
the USTOA was "pleased" the warnings were lifted but "we still wish
they hadn't done it in the first place." The USTOA had told the
department that the warnings were unduly harsh and advisories would
have been more appropriate. Tour operators "had customers who
wanted to go but were stopped because their government was telling
them not to go," Whitley said.
That the warnings were lifted so quickly after the bombings,
however, is a sign that the department has become more sensitive to
the countries involved -- and to their tourism industries, he said.
"We've seen a major change in attitude from the time when the State
Department used the advisories and warnings for political reasons,"
Subsequently, the State Department, citing potential threats
against U.S. interests in the wake of the bombings, issued warnings
against travel to Pakistan and Albania and reminded travelers of a
June 4 warning against travel to Eritrea.