|Kenya puts tourism recovery initiatives into place |
Wednesday, 18th June 2014
Source : Kenya Tourism Board
Kenya has reduced the fees to enter its national parks and landing charges at Mombasa and Malindi airports in efforts to recover any tourism damage from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's (FCO) to parts of the country.
Fees have been reduced from $90 to $80 while landing charges are now down 40% at Mombasa and 10% at Malindi. Air ticketing services by travel agents are also now exempt from VAT in moves that the government hopes will mean tourists will continue to visit.
The FCO issued an 'all but essential' travel warning to Mombasa in May causing Thomson to fly customers home and cancel holidays to all of Kenya until October, despite only parts of the country falling under the advice.
Many holidays have continued with smaller operators since the announcement, which was made after extremists linked to the Al Shabaab group carried out attacks in Kenya.
The FCO still has the warning in place for Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek down to and including Tiwi, as well as low income areas of Nairobi, the Garissa District, Kiwayu and coastal areas of Pate Island and areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border.
Vivian McCarthy, general manager of tour operator Acacia Africa said: "Security issues have affected travel to Kenya, but most of the country including its parks and reserves is safe for travel. We're optimistic about the new initiatives as they will undoubtedly help to boost bookings, and it shows the Kenyan government is responsive to issues affecting the tourist industry."
He added: "I appreciate it is difficult for customers who have never travelled to Africa to appreciate the distances involved, but would you avoid going to the Scottish Highlands because of a terrorist scare in London? The distances are roughly the same. The FCO will need a period of calm before it can review the advisory. Our hope is that they (and we) will see that happen so the advisory can be lifted in the near future."