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IAfrica News Kenya Focus 

February 08 - 14, 2013


 Coastweek   Kenya

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Foreign hotel bookings drop
amid anxiety over elections

'We urge Kenyans to accept outcome of election and
forge ahead in nation building. candidates must accept
results and those that do not win must concede defeat'


MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- The Kenya’s tourism sector has seen a drop of 40 per cent in hotel bookings due to the anxiety surrounding the March 4 general elections.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry said on Friday that hotel bookings have been canceled mainly in coastal region for fears of election violence.

"Approaching the election date the bookings are not there; that means people have made their mind not to visit Kenya until after the election," said Mike Macharia chief executive Kenya Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC).

Kenyan voters will pick a new president on March 4, the first election under a new constitution and the first since the 2007 vote that triggered ethnic clashes that left hundreds killed and thousands displaced across the country.

According to tourism stakeholders, hotel conference has dropped drastically due to the election fears.

Most of the diplomatic mission in Kenya has suspended their activities.

"We had organizations like the United Nations who sponsor conference in the country but the activities are no more," KAHC Director of Coast Region Sam Ikwaye said.

The East African nation’s coastal towns are the backbone of the country’s thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by Somali pirates from resorts near the border with Somalia.

"They are watching how the country will hold the next election.

"The happenings of 2007-2008 post election period have not been forgotten," Ikwaye said.

According to Vision 2030, Kenya’s economic development plan, the tourism sector should record 3 million tourists annually.

"If the elections go smoothly we are going to the high season from June onward, it can be great for Kenya and will see businesses blossom, " added J.S Vohra, chairman KAHC.

"We ask all the leaders to ensure the elections are held fair and smooth for the sake of all Kenyans. We want peaceful voting and acceptance of results," Vohra said.

The 2013 general election will mark a great milestone in the country as it will be the first election under new dispensation, said Macharia.

"We urge Kenyans to accept the outcome of the election and forge ahead in nation building, and candidate must accept the results and those that do not win to concede defeat," Machari said.

The stakeholders met in the coastal city of Mombasa and called upon the inspector of police to ensure all Kenyans and visitors are safe especially during the election period.


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