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Kenya tourism minister seeks to allay tourism fears in open letter to trade

Kenya tourism minister seeks to allay tourism fears in open letter to trade

Kenya tourism minister Najib Balala has assured visitors the government is in control of security in the northern coastal regions of the country.

In an open letter, Balala said the government was working closely with British, French and international authorities to ensure that acts of piracy are stopped and hostages are released.

The move comes after a second kidnapping in under a month.

A French woman was kidnapped by an armed gang on Kenya’s northern resort island of Manda and taken to Somalia.

The kidnap comes three weeks after a UK couple were attacked further north.

“It has been widely acknowledged today that the containment of the long term problems of Somalia within that country’s borders has become a major international problem,” explained Balala.

“Kenya, working closely with its allies and the United Nations, is doing everything within its power to ensure that the effects of the blight and unrest, which have affected Somalia for so long, does not further encroach across Kenyan borders either by land or sea.

“We wish to point out to all our international visitors and our friends in the travel trade that the recent despicable acts of Somali pirates have only affected a small part of our territory.

“A glance at the map will show that these events have occurred hundreds of kilometres away from the coastal and inland destinations which are so popular with the majority of our visitors.

“With the small exception of the northern coast none of our visitor destinations are in any way affected by the changes in some country’s travel advisories which were announced overnight.”

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against “all but essential travel” to the region, urging visitors to remain at least 100 kilometres from the Somali border.

“Tourism, being an important sector within Kenya’s economy and a major employer, the Government will spare no efforts to ensure that our visitors enjoy their holidays and stay in Kenya without any apprehension,” concluded Balala.