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State courts media to shore up tourism numbers amid turbulence

By PETER OKONG’O | May 23rd 2014

The Government has called for ‘’better understanding’’ and ‘’cooperation between it and the media. This is as the reality of the tourism crisis hits home.

Addressing a breakfast it hosted for media owners at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi recently, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and East African Affairs Phyllis Kandie claimed negative reports by local media was impacting negatively on the sector.

She cited the recent reporting on the exodus of tourists following the issuing of selective travel advisories by Western countries based on intelligence reports of possible terror attacks. Kandie was especially critical of the advisories calling them ‘’misplaced’’ and exaggerated.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa similarly appealed to the media to ‘’moderate’’ its reporting. He said even in Israel and Tanzania, there had been terrorist incidents recently yet the reports were not played up the countries’ local media.

The CS and Ndegwa called for a ‘’partnership’’ with the media to gain a more balanced reporting of terror incidents. Ndegwa also shared current data indicating that tourism receipts declined last year by three per cent, and warned that the ongoing crisis in the industry could worsen the situation. 

On Thursday, the Government through KTB unveiled a broad programme to try and reverse the losses the industry has suffered since suspected Islamic radicals began a campaign of bombings. Things have worsened since 2013 when the number of tourists to Kenya dropped by 11 per cent over fears of election violence.

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