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Sundern, August 2014: Last month, the Kenyan Ambassador Ken Osinde visited the Sauerland to take part in the traditional Grillsafari of the Africa tour operator Severin Travel Africa. During his visit, the team talked to the Ambassador about the current situation in Kenya, the diversity of the tourism and the influence of the media. In the following you will find his interesting answers:
How has Kenya developed during the last years, and how do you estimate the current situation in the country?
Despite the many challenges, the economy is stable and steadily growing both regionally and globally. The politic stability creates a suitable surrounding for the economic growth, and the newly elected government wants to gain binary rates of growth with the help of tourism. For this, the unique nature and animal kingdom of Kenya offers a great chance for tourism. All tourists are welcome here and are welcomed very friendly. Of course I understand the insecurity of guests to travel to Kenya, but a slight risk can be found in every travel destination.
I understand the uncertainty by the guests, but in every travel destination you have a breeze of risks. The Government is focused and determined to ensure that there is security for both the Kenyan people and our visitors. Together with the tourism industry player’s concerted efforts have been put in place to ensure that no criminal element disrupts the peace of our tourists. Kenya is not generally a country with risks. It is however always necessary like anywhere in the world to exercise caution when visiting certain areas beyond a given time. The hotels and resorts all do their best to ensure the security at the facility.
Do you think Kenya is dangerous for travelers, who want to spend their holidays there in the coming high season?
Kenya is not a dangerous place to visit not at all. Tourists should care for the normal preventive measures like travel insurance and immunizations. As I have mentioned in the question before, the Government and the hotels do their best to ensure the best security possible. Many hotels arrange for strict personal controls or supervise strategically points via video. I can’t see a threat of terror for the tourists. Petty crime and traffic accidents are an issue in every country and belong to the normal risks of life and has nothing to do with the specific holiday theme. There have in the past been isolated incidents but with a specialized tourist police unit whose sole duty is to provide security in case of any unforeseen situation no cases have been reported in recent times and we do not anticipate any. It is however unfortunate that Kenya has suffered a few cases of attacks from terrorists.
This is a global problem and appropriate measures have been instituted to deal firmly with the terror threats with partnerships from the rest of the world. I am happy to note that the Kenyan Government is at the forefront to combat terror and bring peace to the world. We need all the support. This does not affect touring Kenya.
What effects can be seen during the safari tours?
The situation has no impact on safaris. I have spoken to many tour operators and business partners in Kenya and Europe and everybody assured, that the safaris will be executed on a normal basis.
Who can customers trust in issues regarding security?
The customers can trust the travel agencies or the tour operators and Government officials. They have the special knowledge about Kenya and they also have the contacts in the country. Furthermore, you can get detailed information at the homepage of the German Foreign Office. Here you have some safety information for Kenya, which draw attention to special risks for international travelers. However, it is important to know that these safety information are not stronger after the recent attacks in Kenya. It is wrong to follow the media coverage and then draw the wrong conclusion and avoid the travel destination.
What influence does the media have on the current situation in Kenya?
The media has a tendency to paint only the negative aspects of situations in most cases. These attacks are of course of concern to the government. The government has intensified measures to arrest the situation and there is calm in those areas affected. The attackers were elements of Al Shabaab, a group that is being pursued by global partners since terrorism is a global menace. There is no problem within our beach areas and safari sectors. I therefore welcome tourists to Kenya to enjoy rich products both at the coastal hotels and safari camps. Come and discover the warm hospitality and beauty of Kenya.
By trend, the touristic agencies expect loss in the booking and sales figures for the next winter. Many guests back off with their bookings and hope for a stabilization of the situation. Nevertheless, tour operators and travel agencies look to the future with hope, as Kenya is one of the most popular destinations in Africa and because there is no other country, where bathing holidays and safari can be combined in a better way.
The interview was held by the team of the tour operator Severin Travel Africa.