Tourists stay away from Kenya due to upcoming Elections

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Feb 9th, 2013

The Kenya’s tourism sector has seen a 40- percent fall in hotel bookings over concerns surrounding the country’s March 4 general elections.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry say the majority of hotel bookings in the coastal region were cancelled over fears of violence during the elections, Xinhua news agency reported.

Kenyans will vote for a new president on March 4, the first election under a new constitution and the first since the 2007 polls that triggered ethnic clashes that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced across the country.

Hotel conference bookings have also dropped drastically due to election fears, with most diplomatic missions in Kenya having suspended their activities.

“We have organisations like the United Nations sponsoring conferences in the country but these have been cancelled,” Kenya Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast Region director Sam Ikwaye said.

Kenya’s coastal towns are the backbone of the country’s thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by fears of terror attacks and kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.

“People are watching how the country will hold the next election. The happenings of 2007-2008 post election period have not been forgotten,” Ikwaye said.

The government’s Vision 2030 development plan has targeted a 3-million annual tourist arrival.

“If the elections run smoothly we would be seeing a high season from June onwards, it would be great for Kenya and we could see many businesses blossoming,” said KAHC chairman J.S Vohra.

“We ask all the leaders to ensure the elections are held fairly and smoothly for the sake of all Kenyans. We want peaceful polls and acceptance of results,” he said.


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