British tourists to bring relief to Kenya’s strained tourism sector

by Trust Matsilele 0

The British government has relaxed travel advisory to Kenya, a move likely to bring relief in the country’s critical tourism sector.

The British government advised its citizens in July to avoid travelling to some parts of Kenya after a series of attacks linked to the Islamic militant group, Al-Shabaab.

The travel advisory was not taken lightly by the East African nation due to its adverse effects on the tourism sector, however Britain mantains that the advisory was issued for security reasons.

(READ MORE: Kenya’s tourism sector to combat travel advisories)

“The travel advice is issued for one reason which is security assessment and it’s not for economic reasons at all,” British envoy to Kenya Christian Turner told CNBC Africa.

“Our advisory was not confined to the whole country but to certain sections of the country and specifically to Mombasa and Lamu.”

Kenya has seen a drop in the tourism sector in the last five year.

“The drop in figures of tourists started in 2011 as there were clearly concerns about stability around elections, the Westgate [mall] terror attacks and market offers.”

Turner also took the opportunity to dispel allegations that travel advisories were causing economic damage, he argued insecurity was the biggest culprit.

(READ MORE: US warns of impending attacks in Kenya)

British visitors are a key source of tourism revenue and the revised advisory will go a long way to address recovery in the tourism industry.

The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Fiona Woolfe was in Kenya in September with a delegation of investors to help develop trade relations between the UK and Kenya

The advisory comes a few weeks after Kenya entertained the Lord Mayor of London.

“What I think is striking to me with regards to the Lord Mayor’s visit was that it was the largest delegation she has ever travelled with. There were nearly 30 people and about 25 companies represented; it was a new wave of investment between Britain and Kenya,” added Turner.

Turner added that the two countries had Kenya and Britain strong trade ties.

“About a 100 million pounds of new investment was agreed which is about 15 billion Kenyan shillings of investments. The investments were largely in financial services, energy deals, aviation and healthcare,” he added.

The balance of trade between the two economies is even as Kenya’s exports were about 37 billion Kenyan shillings while imports were about 49 billion Kenyan shillings.

The British High Commissioner to Kenya added that he would like to see trade doubling between the two countries.

“There is a large investment conference in London this October which will see many African economies attending the summit,” added Turner.