Tourism players want Kenya’s kidnap hotspot listing review

Kenya Coast Tourism Association Chairman Mohamed Hersi
Kenya Coast Tourism Association Chairman Mohamed Hersi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenyan tourism investors have protested Washington’s decision to start running the kidnapping risk on Kenya when assessing the safety of travelling United States (US) citizens.

Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohamed Hersi said blanket condemnation of Kenya as kidnap hotspot was regrettable, adding that they will seek a review through the US embassy in Nairobi.

Friday’s morning abduction of two Cuban medics in Mandera, however, appeared to vindicate US’s assessment of Kenya as having a high risk of being abducted.

The Cuban doctors were ambushed by gunmen on their way to work in a daring attack which left one of the two police officers guarding the expatriates’ dead.

“Kenya is not a country where you ran a risk of getting kidnapped. We host the UN offices in Nairobi and another 150 diplomats. It (kidnapping) happens sometimes, but only along the border which is a no-go zone for many of the tourists and business visitors,” Mr Hersi said.

The US was the leading source of foreign tourists to Kenya last year.

Travel advisories that followed terror attacks from 2011 nearly brought Kenyan tourism sector to its knees.