Can the Diaspora Help Revive Kenya’s Travel Industry?
(Reuters) – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged Kenyans abroad to help woo tourists by reassuring people the country was safe despite a wave of militant attacks, hitting back at travel advisories that have further harmed the lucrative sector.
Kenya’s tourism industry has been battered by the attacks by the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab, including a siege at Nairobi’s upmarket Westgate mall in late 2013 that left 67 dead and deadly attacks near the Somali border.
Speaking at the Kenya Diaspora Easter Investment Conference in the capital Nairobi, Kenyatta said Kenyans living abroad should act as “frontline diplomats” lobbying for the country’s safari parks and Indian Ocean beaches.
“The travel advisories being issued by our friends are not genuine,” Kenyatta said. “I have not heard of any travel advisory issued to those visiting Paris, which recently experienced a terror attack.”
Seventeen people were killed in Islamist attacks on a satirical magazine and a Jewish foodstore in Paris in January.