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Tourists avoid Kenya following attacks

Monday, April 13, 2015 - 01:32

Tourists have started cancelling trips to Kenya after Islamist gunmen last week killed 148 people at a university campus. As Hayley Platt reports, the tourism industry was already struggling, but now coastal resorts are going out of business.

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Mombassa, Kenya's second largest city, was once a tourist hotspot. Now parts are a virtual ghost town. Visitors stopped coming following the al Shabaab shootings 2 years ago. Armed police now patrol the streets. Sixty-seven people were killed in that attack. Now another - this time at a university campus in Garissa is adding further misery. Mohamed Hersi, from Kenya's Tourism Watch says repeated travel warnings aren't helping the situation. (SOUNDBITE)(English) KENYA TOURISM WATCH CHAIRMAN, MOHAMED HERSI, SAYING: "The recent attack may not have happened in Mombasa but happened in Garrisa where we lost many young people which is very very unfortunate that equally paints the destination in a negative picture." Tourism is key to Kenya. But many resorts are now fighting for survival. More than 20 hotels along its volatile coast region have already closed. And many more reported cancellations. The future is looking bleak. (SOUNDBITE)(English) KENYA TOURISM WATCH CHAIRMAN, MOHAMED HERSI, SAYING: "For us to survive in that many hotels one have sent staff on unpaid leave, some are actually laying off people, others are retrenching and some are actually taking pay cuts." When President Uhuru Kenyatta took up office 2 years ago he pledged to triple tourist numbers to 5 million annually within five years. And get economic growth back into double figures. That may be one promise he'll find hard to keep.

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Tourists avoid Kenya following attacks

Monday, April 13, 2015 - 01:32