Kenya, Tanzania Warnings Lifted

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 victims.

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," Whitley said.

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.

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