Plagued by recent terrorist attacks that claimed 67 lives in Kenya’s Westgate mall, Kenyan tourism officials seek compelling reasons why tourists should keep coming back.
The sun may just be an answer, according to a report in CapitalFM.
At least 1,000 international tourists are expected in Kenya to view a total solar eclipse Nov. 3, officials said in the report. The hybrid solar eclipse will be viewed at about 1725 hours in Ali Abey, Sibiloi National Park.
Tourism officials hope the eclipse will boost Kenya’s position as an astro-tourism destination, said Kenya Tourism Board Managing Director Muriithi Ndegwa.
“So far, air charter operators, tour companies and hotel owners are receiving an overwhelming response from people who do not want to miss out on the chance to view the total solar eclipse,” Ndegwa said.
The eclipse will be visible for about two minutes with a 13-kilometer lunar shadow. The government has beefed up security for visitors through the Kenya Wildlife Service, the report said.
Solar eclipse watchers in Turkana will be able to see what other tourist destinations such as Marsabit, Isiolo, and Samburu counties have to offer, said Phyllis Kandie, East African Affairs Commerce and Tourism Cabinet Secretary.
Visitors continued coming to Kenya despite the Westgate mall attacks, Kandie said.
Despite the fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the Kenya Airports Authority reported increased passenger traffic in July and August, Kandie said.
During the week of the attack on Westgate, two international conferences were held in Nairobi – the Eco Tourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference and the Africa Hotel Investment Forum.
Later in October, the country will host a gala for the World Travel Awards Africa.
A few days after the gala, Kenya will play host to travel agents from close to 30 countries during the Magical Kenya Travel Expo.