Clear communication vital to sustaining Kenya's tourism


“The government and the private sector have to communicate very clearly to anybody who will listen that Kenya is open for business. This is a very isolated incident in one shopping mall, in the centre of Nairobi,” the World Travel and Tourism Council’s CEO David Scowsill told CNBC Africa on Wednesday.

“Travel and tourism is an incredibly resilient industry, and bounces back very fast from either terrorist incidents, man-made difficulties or natural disasters.”

Following the attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi by Somali Islamist militant group al Shabaab, many have feared that tourism could be considerably affected in Kenya.


Scowsill however, insisted that he does not see a major drop off in business as a result of the attack.

“I don’t expect to see whole scale cancellations because the tour operators and travel agencies that are sending people to Kenya are very experienced. They will look at travel advices, they will get a very good understanding of where it is the issue has happened,” he said.

Scowsill believes that social network activity gives tourists a sense of the environment in the country, and that this is essential to fostering communication with the outside world. 

“When the incident started on Saturday, the message went out very fast around the world – I discovered it on Facebook, just to give you an idea of how the social networks are operating,” he explained.

“I think the communication has been handled very well, it’s not just standard press releases. The government and the private sector are using social networks, which is so important. These days, consumers are looking at like-minded people to see what they are saying about whether to go to a particular place. Therefore the more people get on the web and communicate the better.”