Unrest in Kenya could hit tourism

Kenya’s tourism industry, which brings in some $900 million annually, could take a hit after four days of rioting and ethnic clashes. The UK government is already advising against all but essential travel to some areas of the popular resort town of Mombasa and the capital Nairobi. The United States and Canada have also warned against all but essential travel to the whole of Kenya, a destination which attracts more than one million visitors a year.

This comes after bloody protests engulfed the country after the election of President Mwai Kibaki. Scores of people have been killed after allegations that the relection of the president was fraudulent.

Yet many tourists are pressing ahead with holidays to Kenya despite the riots. No cancellations of holidays or flights have been reported by the UK press, while Kuoni, however, said it was cancelling some local excursions to risky areas.

Resorts and safari parks that attract travellers remained untouched by the violence, although hotels said security has been tight.

However, hotel owners along the coast have expressed fears of bookings being cancelled if the post election violence continues in the next few days.


p>UK government statement

The UK government now advises against all but essential travel to Kisumu, Kakamega, Kericho, Eldoret and Kisauni district in Mombasa.

The government also advises against all but essential travel to the city centre, Uhuru Park, Kibera, Mathare and the Eastleigh areas of Nairobi.

British High Commission officials continue to monitor the situation and travel advice will be updated at regular intervals.

The government advises against all but essential travel to Kisumu, Kakamega, Kericho, Eldoret, the Kisauni district in Mombasa, and Likoni and Tiwi areas south of Mombasa. We also advise against all but essential travel to the city centre, Uhuru Park, Kibera, Mathare, and Eastleigh areas of Nairobi. The situation in Eldoret is deteriorating rapidly with reports of militia activity.

General shortages of food and fuel supplies are being reported in many parts of the country as supermarkets and petrol stations remain closed. Kenya Airways (KQ) flights between Kisumu and Nairobi have been suspended although other airlines continue to operate services on this route.

The government recommends that you stay indoors. If you need to travel you should exercise extreme caution and seek advice locally.

There continues to be serious unrest in parts of Kenya, particularly in urban centres, following the announcement of the presidential election results. There are reports of sporadic violent clashes between Eldoret and Nakuru. Up to 200 Kenyan nationals are reported to have been killed in the disturbances. Naional security forces have been deployed across the country to the main trouble spots. A 6pm to 6am curfew has been imposed in Kisumu town. The situation is fluid and we are updating our travel advice regularly.

There is a high threat from terrorism in Kenya. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. Previous attacks have included a bomb attack on a hotel, which resulted in significant loss of life, and an unsuccessful attempt to bring down a civilian airliner in Mombasa. These attacks took place in the month leading up to the last Parliamentary and Presidential elections in Kenya.

Up to 290,000 British tourists visit Kenya every year (Source: Kenya Tourist Board). The main types of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Kenya are road accidents and muggings (five and eight cases respectively in 2006).

The government strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake.