Tour operators in London say the shooting of conservationist Kuki Gallmann has worsened an already bad situation in Laikipia.
Experts in the UK said given that Laikipia is fairly isolated, it is easier for tour companies to shift itineraries to other parks such as the Maasai Mara thereby denying the county tourism revenues.
Mr Adrian Dangar, who runs tour firm Wild & Exotic, which offers holidays packages to Kenya recently told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper: “It’s about people’s perception. Laikipia has been an outstanding high-end tourist destination, with an emphasis on the preservation of wildlife.”
Mr Dangar was also a friend of Tristan Voorspuy who was killed at the height of ranch invasions.
“Obviously, we have this problem with people who are outside these ranches. But that’s nothing to say that the rest of Kenya is not perfectly safe. The Mara is another world. The trouble is confined to the northern areas of Laikipia and you have to hope that people will not draw a black line through the whole country and will continue to visit.”
Some tour operators say while there might be some exceptions for the three big rhino ranches — Lewa, Ol Pejeta and Borana — as they have army protection and private security — Laikipia as a whole will take years to recover from bad global publicity, the high profile international media perception that it is an unsafe place to travel.
Following the visit to the area by British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey where he met Laikipia County Commissioner Onesmas Musyoki, the UK amended its travel advisory but still stopped short of telling tourists not to visit the area.