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Phyllis Kandie blames sector’s woes on misinformation, travel advisories

By ISAAC MESO | May 25th 2014

Kenya: Over reaction to the recent terror attacks together with unfriendly travel advisories by foreign partners has negatively impacted on the tourism industry, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and East African Affairs Phyllis Kandie says.

Ms Kandie noted that the extreme travel advisories were eroding the country’s reputation as a tourism hub and was causing massive hotel closures and loss of jobs.

Addressing a breakfast hosted for media owners at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, the CS said negative reports by the media were partly to blame for the poor performance of the industry.

“The drop is attributed largely to insecurity reported in the country, especially in Mombasa and Nairobi. The negative coverage forms part of the basis of the travel advisories,” she said.

The CS was referring to the recent reporting on the exodus of tourists following the issuing of travel advisories by Western countries based on intelligence reports of possible terror attacks.

She said the drop in performance in the tourism sector was being manifested in various sectors in the industry. This cited the disruption of business, especially at the Coast where more than 20 hotels have closed shop. “These closures result in loss of jobs. The drop in performance also manifests in losses running into millions as a result cancelled bookings and contracts,” she added.

She called upon the media to do balanced reporting of terror incidents and to avoid exaggeration of the same. Accompanied by Murithii Ndegwa, Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director, the CS shared current data indicating that the number of tourist arrivals declined last year by three per cent, and warned that the ongoing crisis in the industry could worsen the situation.


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