Nairobi attack ‘will have minimal impact’ on bookings

People are evacuated from a building after a bomb blast from the office block attached to the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi on January 15, 2019. [Photo, AFP]

The terror attack on DusitD2 Hotel will not affect Kenya’s tourism much and any setback in visitor arrivals will last less than two weeks.

This is according to a prediction by ForwardKeys, which forecasts future travel patterns by analysing daily booking transactions around the world.

The projection is based on an analysis of the attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi in 2013 and the company’s experience in analysing similar terrorist incidents.

The 2013 terror attack had a clear and immediate impact on international flight bookings and physical arrivals, but the effects faded after six weeks.

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The Westgate siege started on Saturday September 21 and within a week, international bookings dropped by 64.6 per cent. This negative trend continued until the week of October 19.

During the six week-period, international bookings were 29 per cent lower than the year before.

However, bookings picked up in November; for the period between October 26 to November 29, they grew 3.5 per cent benchmarked against the same period in 2012.

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With regard to international arrivals in Kenya, the impact was less.

They started to drop from September 24 and the trend continued until October 5. Over this 12-day period, international arrivals decreased by 9.3 per cent. However, for the rest of the month, they grew by 5.4 per cent.

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“Of course it is likely that had the attack on Westgate been foiled in advance, there would have been no setbacks in bookings and arrivals and the growth in tourism would have continued even more strongly,” said ForwardKeys vice-president for Insights, Olivier Ponti.

“However, the bottom line is that within less than two weeks, tourism to Kenya returned to growth. By comparison with the Westgate attack, fortunately fewer people have died and the siege ended more quickly, which means that the incident has received far less media attention.”

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