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Kenyan officials breathe a sigh of relief as the FCO lifts travel advisory

Kenyan officials are now feeling "cautiously optimistic" they will be able to turn around the downward trend in arrivals from the UK with the FCO's recent decision to lift the travel advisory in place for the coastal town of Malindi. This decision now means that UK holidaymakers have a wide range of choices for both safari and beach holidays in Kenya.

Kenyan officials breathe a sigh of relief as the FCO lifts travel advisory

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have lifted the travel advisory previously in place for the coastal town of Malindi.

The announcement comes after the FCO lifted restrictions for Mombasa, Kilifi and Watamu in June. These developments indicate growing confidence in the security measures put in place to ensure that visitors can safely enjoy their holidays in some of Kenya’s top beach and safari destinations.

At the time of the announcement, a statement from the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) highlighted the fact that holidaymakers will now have even greater choice stating,

"Whilst the south coast has always remained open for business, tourists will now be able to enjoy even more of the Kenya coast, with the only exclusion now being the areas further north, including Lamu County"

Encouraging Britons to book holidays in Kenya is a high priority for the KTB given the UK’s position as the single largest source market for Kenya. Recent figures showed a drop in arrivals from the UK in 2014 with 128,600 visitors compared to 196,200 in 2013 and 198,000 in 2012.

Most commentators have attributed the decline to security concerns and the subsequent travel advisories, implemented by a number of European governments, following a string of terrorist attacks. Kenya’s coastal towns have been hit the hardest by the travel warnings with over 40 hotels along the coast forced to shutdown due to low occupancy rates.

Since the announcement Kenyan officials have been able to breathe a sigh of relief with the managing director of the Kenya Tourism Board, Muriithi Ndegwa, stating that he was “cautiously optimistic” that by 2017 the number of UK arrivals would return to the levels previously seen in 2013.

Already, there has been signs of an improvement with Tom Reeves the Europe manager for Kenya Airways indicating a significant increase in interest for flights to Kenya when compared to last year. Both Reeves’ and Ndegwa’s comments on the outlook for Kenya’s tourism industry came during the recent World Travel Market fair held in London.

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