MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — Kenya’s tourist stakeholders said Wednesday the country’s ongoing political anxiety has not affected the international tourist arrivals.
The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast Executive Sam Ikwaye said since the beginning of September the coast have record 60 percent international arrivals. Ikwaye said the domestic and regional tourism are the only ones which have been affected by the ongoing political scenarios in the country. He said they domestic tourism during the August school holidays was very affected by the presidential elections to be held next month. Many Kenyans opted not to travel for leisure.
Ikwaye said they domestic tourism during the August school holidays was affected by the elections. Many Kenyans opted not to travel for leisure for fear of political violence.Ikwaye said August saw very few international arrivals because guests were skeptical of the outcome of the polls due to the fact that Kenyan election is largely associated with violence. “There are those guests who had booked their trips to Kenya from September. These trips cannot be cancelled just because the Supreme Court had ordered for repeat polls,” said Ikwaye. He said the international booking can only be cancelled if the country is in turmoil, leading to issuance of travel advisories. August to December is always considered a high season in the tourism sector.
However, there have been reports that the ongoing political tension in Kenya might have affected all sectors of economy, among them tourism. Ikwaye however said this election year they have done well compared to other previous years. “Kenya is currently very stable. However, we are cautioning politicians to torn down their rhetoric, which might lead to political violence,” said Ikwaye. “We are now banking on the coming December holidays. But if the current political scenarios becomes worse, then we are going to loose big time,” he said. The country’s fresh presidential elections will be held on Oct. 17 after Supreme Court nullified the victory of President Uhuru following a petition filed by opposition leader Raila Odinga.