July 24, 2024

Tourism Sector Intact Amid Anti-Government Protests

Tourism principal secretary John Ololtuaa during a media briefing in Mombasa on the sidelines of state department for tourism stakeholders workshop. (Photo By Harrison Kivisu)

By Harrison Kivisu and Mwakwaya Raymond

Email, thecoastnewspaper@gmail.com

The government, through the ministry of tourism, has assured tourists of adequate security during this period of anti-government protests.

Tourism is a fragile industry that is susceptible to any civil disturbances such as protests or skirmishes as what is happening currently in the country forcing players to call on kenyans to stop the violence protests to save international arrivals.

Although the government has put up measures to prop security in tourists destinations, there is still room for more to be done to ensure the safety of both local and international tourists visiting Mombasa and its environs.

Speaking during a tourism safety and security capacity building workshop in Mombasa, state department of tourism principal secretary (PS) John Ololtua urged Kenyans to remain peaceful even when facing economic challenges in their lives.

“I want to ask all kenyans to maintain peace and unity. Our peaceful coexistence is very important in the economy of our country and specifically in the tourism sector which thrives on a peaceful environment,” he said.

The PS said the sector has remained resilient signaling better business prospects compared to the same time of the last year’s quarter.

However, based on the ongoing protests countrywide a number of undisclosed tourists have cancelled their hotel bookings after receiving advisories from local foreign embassies or high commissions.

According to the PS a peaceful environment is conducive and a catalyst to tourism sector’s growth promising the government’s support to promoting sustainable tourism.

“Visitors from other countries and in the country should know Kenya is peaceful, those who want to come should not fear anything let them visit their preferred destinations. We promise them safety and we thank them for staying loyal to the products we offer.”

Violent protests in urban areas notwithstanding, across the country, few incidents have been reported within tourists’ destinations making movements from airports, airstrips or hotels secure to and fro there.

The GenZees’ demonstrations started peaceful a fortnight ago, but degenerated into hooliganism last week and Tuesday, July 2, 2024 that saw businesses vandalised, some torched while protesters suffered at the hands of security agents.

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If the protests continue unabated, then, there is a danger of massive cancellations of hotel bookings dealing a huge blow to the country’s travel and tourism industry that heavily depends on the international market for its survival and foreign exchange.

The tourism industry’s earnings surged to Sh352.5 billion (32%) last year as international arrivals increased to 1.96 million, up from 1.48 million visitors in 2022, data by the Tourism Research Institute (TRI).

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