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Tourism players ‘satisfied with police response’

By By PHILIP MWAKIO | September 23rd 2013
In Mombasa security was tightened following the Saturday Nairobi incident. [PHOTO: KEVIN ODIT/STANDARD]


Tourism stakeholders at the Coast have poured praise on security forces for their proactive role in handling the Westgate hostage crisis as security was tightened across Mombasa.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast branch Executive Officer Sam Ikwaye said while it is a sad moment for the nation, the tourism industry is confident in the manner the government security forces are dealing with the situation at hand.

“Hostage situations are events that have to be handled with lots of precision in the way security can move in and contain the hostage takers and we have seen our able forces take up the position courageously as they try to contain the situation,’’ Ikwaye said.

A spot check at the Moi International Airport revealed heightened security with armed police officers manning the airport entrance, scrutinising motorists entering the facility. The same was being replicated in shopping malls, places of worship and tourist hotels within Mombasa.

At the same time, Ikwaye said travel advisories issued by some key source markets are inconsequential.

“This is what happens when you overdo something even when not warranted. Unneccessary advisories have been issued in the past but tourists who love Kenya and have the benefit of other media outlets to assess the situation have continued coming,’’ he said.

Isolated incident

His remarks were echoed by Mombasa Serena Beach and Spa General Manager Tuva Mwahunga, who also condemned the Nairobi incident and urged for prayers for those affected.

“We salute the action of our security forces and appeal to our key source markets not to issue travel advisories following the incident. This is an isolated incident and can happen anywhere in the world,” Mwahunga said.

On her part, Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association Executive Officer Millie Odhiambo said terrorist attacks are real and can happen anywhere on the globe. “At this high season, we require extra vigilance in and around Mombasa,” she said.

Indian Ocean Beach Resort General Manager Gomeri Kombo termed the Westgate incident as very unfortunate but well handled by the security agents. “We have proved, as a nation, we have the military might and muscle to deal with such unfortunate scenarios,’’ he said.

Ikwaye said Kenya, as a nation, will overcome this incident and come out much stronger. “Terrorism is now a global threat and is never synonymous with Kenya. Our regional and domestic visitors will continue to support the industry.”


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