Following the update by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to the UK’s travel advice for Mombasa, Kenya advising ‘against all but essential travel to Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north to Tiwi in the south’, charter tour operator, TUI has taken the precautionary measure to move its customers from Mombasa.
In light of this, the Kenya Tourism Board would like to confirm the following to the UK tourism industry and consumers:
While there have not been any incidents in Mombasa that have affected any tourists and security in all tourism establishments within Mombasa remains high, when the FCO changes their advice all tour operators have a duty to contact any of their customers staying currently within the advisory zone to advise them of the situation and give them the option to change their holiday arrangements.
Meanwhile, many other tour operators continue to sell safari circuits in Kenya and the coastal resorts of Diani, Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi and Lamu which are not within the travel advisory zone.
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi and all safari circuits throughout Kenya continue to operate as normal and Kenya Airways, British Airways and other scheduled carriers continue to operate their usual flight schedules into Kenya.
Kenya received 149,000 British visitors in 2013 and Kenya has always been a leading destination for safaris in British consumers’ minds. We expect this to continue with customers going on safari in Kenya’s 59 national parks which are unaffected by the change in the FCO advice.
Muriithi Ndegwa, MD, Kenya Tourism Board said, ‘We are indeed disappointed by the FCO's decision to enforce this advice against non-essential travel to some areas of Mombasa. We will work tirelessly with the British Government to demonstrate the enhanced security in place to ensure the safety of British visitors’.
Ben Morison, MD, Imagine Africa said, ‘We have lots of customers due to travel to Kenya in the next few weeks and, as always, many are choosing to combine safari and beach, staying in the coastal areas of Diani and Msambweni. We are confident these customers will continue with their plans undeterred, enjoying their holiday to the south coast, where tourism continues to thrive as usual. Consumer demand for Kenya continues and we’ve even taken some new bookings for holidays to Kenya in the coming weeks’.
Ash Sofat, CEO, Somak said, ‘We have contacted all our holiday-makers currently enjoying their vacation in Kenya to make them aware of the change in FCO advice for some areas of Mombasa and all have chosen to continue their holidays as planned. With all airports, safari circuits and many areas of the coast continuing to operate as normal we expect our customers to continue to travel to Kenya in the coming weeks’.
Nigel Vere Nicoll, CEO, The African Travel & Tourism Association said, ‘There is no doubt this is going to affect tourism for the Mombasa area, however it is incredibly important that tour operators and consumers are aware that the majority of the Kenya coast, as well as all international airports and safari circuits, continue to operate as normal. In particular holiday- makers continue to enjoy the popular resorts of Diani, Malindi, Watamu, Kilifi and Lamu’.
The Kenya Tourism Board would like to clarify that the following areas of the Kenya coast are not affected by the change in travel advice to the coast and continue to operate as normal:
North of Mombasa to Lamu: Manda South of Mombasa and Tiwi: Kikambala Kilifi Watamu Malindi Che Shale Mambrui Lamu Diani Beach Galu Beach Kinondo Msambweni Funzi Island Shimoni Wasini Island.
All airports located on the Kenya coast are open.
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