While its economy has been booming, unfortunately Kenya’s tourism sector has been in the doldrums for the last two years owing mainly to concerns about global terrorism and fears about the possibility of Ebola in parts of West Africa spreading elsewhere.
This created negative perceptions that caused many people to postpone plans to visit Kenya. Thankfully we are now seeing a change in those perceptions as concerted action has been taken to improve security.
SECURITY IN KENYA – the Government takes action
The President announced major changes last year with a new head of the Ministry of Security and a new Chief of Police to lead the implementation of a renewed focus on enhancing security within the country and counteracting any terrorist threats. As a result of these changes, and through closer collaboration with international security agencies, there is greater confidence now that the Kenyan security authorities will be able to foil and prevent any terrorist attacks and to arrest suspects before they can carry out any planned acts of terrorism, along similar lines to what is done in other countries.
Many people overseas seem to have now realised that the risk of terrorism is a global issue and affects places like Australia, Spain, France, Belgium, the UK, the USA and other developed countries just as much as Kenya. We keep abreast of all the travel advice issued by various governments and being based ourselves in Nairobi, we live and go about our business in Kenya and are well placed to ensure that our guests are carefully looked after and that we avoid going anywhere which we do not consider absolutely safe and secure for visitors.
No Travel Warnings to Safari Areas
The British government has pointed out they do not have any warnings against going on safari in Kenya and their current FCO travel advice now reads as follows: “The FCO do not advise against travel to Kenya’s popular safari destinations in the national parks, reserves and wildlife conservancies including the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia, Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru, Mount Kenya, Samburu, Shimba Hills, Tsavo.” A recent written statement this month from the British Foreign Office in London indicated that they hope that British and other visitors will continue to enjoy the many beautiful areas of Kenya that can be visited on safari.
International Support with Defence & Security
Recently the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation sent a mission to Kenya consisting of 17 British companies with a wide range of security expertise to assist the Kenyan government with their defence and security requirements. Speaking during the event, British High Commissioner to Kenya, Dr. Christian Turner, said: “The scale of UK presence at this mission is an indication of the UK’s commitment to Kenya. The UK is keen to deepen its existing security engagement with Kenya to further strengthen our prospering relationship. A more prosperous and secure Kenya means a more secure UK”.
The British government has also been giving support to Kenyan government efforts to ensure heightened security at airports in Kenya by providing equipment and training to assist in broadening aviation security detection capability at airports across Kenya to further strengthen the existing aviation security regime.
Health in Kenya: THE EBOLA OUTBREAK IN WEST AFRICA
Following the outbreak of Ebola over a year ago in three countries in West Africa (Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia) and the subsequent confirmation of Ebola cases being treated in Mali, Spain, UK and the USA, there were widespread fears that the outbreak could spread across the continent and reach countries in East Africa.
The government of Kenya took immediate steps to prevent an outbreak reaching this country by suspending flights from the affected places in West Africa and preventing entry to anyone who had been there.
No Risk to Kenya and its Visitors
There now seems to be a greater public awareness by our potential visitors that Ebola is not spread through the air and that it is transmitted only by ingestion or absorption of bodily fluids from a person showing the symptoms of Ebola or from the corpse of someone who died from Ebola. Persons infected with Ebola but not exhibiting symptoms are not contagious and cannot infect others. People now realise that those at risk are health workers, mortuary attendants or people who have been caring for an infected family member or friend where medical facilities were not available and they have understood that the risk is non-existent for tourists or safari-goers in Kenya.
Future Risk Unlikely due to First Class Health Service
There was considered to be no risk of a mass pandemic outbreak in those countries outside of West Africa which have access to adequate health care and hygiene, which is why the outbreak has been confined to the poorest areas of West Africa where deprived communities lacking good quality medical facilities are exposed to risks of infection. There are first class hospitals and medical facilities in Nairobi, Mombasa and elsewhere in Kenya, of excellent international standard and highly professional medical staff able to provide a rapid response. This is very different to the situation in the affected West African countries and is the reason why the possibility of a future outbreak of Ebola in Kenya is considered extremely unlikely and why Kenya has remained free from Ebola.
Now that the rate of new infections has dropped significantly in the countries where the outbreak occurred and the quality of medical attention has improved there as a result of massive international assistance resulting in the disease being confined there, it seems that fears have ended now about travelling to countries in East or Southern Africa which remain far from the outbreak and totally unaffected.
on Wednesday 18th March 2015 at 11:18