The UK has spared Kenya’s tourist top destinations in a fresh travel advisory to its citizens following the November 20 kidnapping of an Italian volunteer that sparked fears of renewed attacks by militant Islamists.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in the advisory issued Tuesday the caution did not include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies as well as beach resorts.
The fresh advisory followed the seizure of the 23-year-old Italian from a small town in Kilifi, and no group has claimed responsibility.
The UK’s foreign office has in the updated travel advisory cautioned her citizens against non-essential travel to areas within 60 kilometres of the Kenya-Somali border.
The advisory also applies to Garissa, a larger part of the Lamu, areas north of Tana River within the Tana River County and those within 15km off the coast from the Tana River down to the Galana River.
“The area to which the FCO advice against all but essential travel doesn’t include Kenya’s safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies,” said the advisory.
“Nor does it include the beach resorts of Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi, Watamu, Diani, Lamu Island and Manda Island.”
The alerts reduced the flow of tourist dollars, a valuable source of foreign exchange, put pressure on the shilling and forced some hotels out of business.
The industry has since recovered and authorities say they had taken steps to thwart fresh terror attacks. Earnings dropped from Sh94 billion in 2013 to Sh84.6 billion and rose to Sh120 billion last year.
National Intelligence Service deputy assistant director Alexander Muteshi in September said terrorism poses the greatest threat to the country.