StarTOURISM Minister Najib Balala wants travel advisories issued by some
countries on Kenya to be lifted as they have forced the government to
embark on a costly marketing programme to reassure tourists.
Monday, February 20, 2012
at his office on Friday during a meeting with Dutch ambassador to Kenya
Joost Reintjes, Balala said the travel advisories ought to be lifted as
the country was secure. He added that the advisories were hurting the
tourism sector. “The advisories have destabilized holiday schedules with
people who could afford upmarket holidays considering other places such
as the South coast, and those who would have done beach holiday
preferring to do safari,” the Minister said.
Since the abduction
of two tourists at private villas in Lamu area last year, some key
tourist source market countries issued travel advisories with some
cautioning their citizens not to visit any area within 100km of Kenya's
border with Somalia. The advisories have heavily hurt the economy of
Lamu which heavily depends on tourist activities leading to protests by
investors over the loss of revenue and jobs.
Balala assured the
dutch envoy that the security situation has now been improved after
Kenya reacted by engaging in war with the al-Shabaab militia group from
Somalia who were said to be behind the tourist kidnappings in Lamu.
Reintjes expressed his intention to visit Lamu to assess the security
situation. Last week Balala told journalists that the ministry had
requested for some funds from treasury to embark on new marketing
efforts to try and mitigate the effects of the advisories.
revealed that Sh200 million had already been approved by Treasury to
finance the marketing but that it was yet to be released because of too
much bureaucracy in government processes. Kenya missed its Sh100 billion
target for tourism earnings projected for 2011 hitting Sh98 billion
after several cancellations were made mid last year as a result of the
kidnappings and the travel advisories.