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Concern as 2,000 tourists diverted over US security alert

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya has lost some 2,000 tourists after two cruise ships destined for the Port of Mombasa diverted to other destinations following a recent security alert raised by the US government.

The US cautioned its citizens in Kenya, asking them to be careful about terror threats when visiting parts of the country.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said he would raise the concerns to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Balala said two cruise ships operated by Oceania Cruises were to dock at the Port of Mombasa between February 3, and another expected by the end of this month have been diverted following the caution.

“But I have raised these issues with the Foreign Affairs and I am disappointed with the US embassy because they have blown the situation out of control; it has scared two of our cruise ships to divert to other destination,” Mr Balala said, adding such actions only hurt the common man.

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Mr Balala said after the Dusit terror attack on January 15, he met foreign embassies including the US where they promised not to issue any travel advisories.

“We have agreed that this is not a Kenyan but an international problem, we need to work together. The travel advisory that has come out from the US embassy is cautionary, it is about cautiousness and vigilance because there can be an attack like that in any other destination,” Mr Balala noted.

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