Kenyan tourism official Phyllis Kandie asked foreign embassies for their understanding and urged them not to issue travel advisories to their citizens in the wake of the Westgate mall attack, according to a report in CapitalDigitalMedia.
Describing the attack as an isolated incident which has been brought under control, Kandie encouraged all tourists, especially those in the country, to go on with their planned activities since all the other parts of the country are peaceful.
Travel and tourism are among Kenya’s largest industries, accounting for 12.5 percent of the economy, the report said.
“There have been no travel advisories and we are very grateful,” Kandie said. “In the past they have impacted on us negatively as a country. As you know, tourism is a very important sector.”
“Terrorism is something that you don’t plan for and it can happen anywhere and we will overcome,” Kandie said. “One thing that we would want to go out there is that the incident is at Westgate and the rest of the country is peaceful and everything going as usual.”
The Kenya Tourist Development Corporation and Bench Events, which organized the Africa Hotel Investment Forum taking place in Nairobi Sept. 23-25, said the event will go ahead as planned, despite the attack.
“The goal of terrorists is to spread fear and disrupt lives and we know that. But we will be proceeding,” Event Chairman Jonathan Worsley said.
World Travel and Tourism Council CEO David Scowsill said he was planning to fly to Nairobi to attend the Africa Hotel Investment Forum. “It is important that the travel industry supports Kenya at this difficult time,” he said.