UK Downgrades Travel Warnings to Kenya

The United Kingdom has downgraded travel warnings for its citizens travelling to Kenya four months after it advised against all but essential travel, reflecting growing confidence in the country’s security situation.

Tourism secretary Phyllis Kandie. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The downgrade announced by deputy high commissioner John Murton will come as a relief for the tourism and air travel sectors that have been hit hard by the warnings.

“We will be removing our advisory against all but essential travel to slum areas of Nairobi (although Eastleigh will remain). I expect this will help visitors be more confident when travelling into JKIA and transferring to hotels,” Mr Murton said.

“We will also be making explicit the fact that there are no travel advisories against the major game parks in Kenya, and removing language on crime in game parks. I expect this will help visitors be more confident about booking safaris.”

However, there was no statement on the travel advisory issued against Mombasa, a tourism hotspot, which has seen tourism in the coastal city take a nosedive.

In May, Britain, the US, France and Australia issued travel advisories warning against all but essential travel to Mombasa and some sections of Nairobi. The travel warnings were issued following a string of gun-and-grenade assaults that hit Nairobi and the coastal towns of Mombasa and Lamu.

The advisories have seen JKIA report a 12.2 per cent drop in first-half foreign passenger arrivals while Moi Airport in Mombasa saw a 20 per cent drop in foreign arrivals in the half to 69,246 passengers.

Early this month, Tourism secretary Phyllis Kandie said they would be holding negotiations with the Western nations to review the advisories.

Britain becomes the first of the four nations to relax the advisories although Mr Murton said that they will “continue to review all our travel advice as the security situation permits.”

– Business Daily