Wildlife in Kenya. Picture: Malaika Tours
The United Kingdom has advised residents of the UK planning to travel to Kenya on tourism activities to have 'contingency plans' in case they find themselves trapped in areas of unrest. 

According to Tourism Update, the advisory comes after the country was plunged into unrest due to dissatisfaction with the results of the August 8 elections that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta extend his rule and enter into his second term as president. He was first elected in 2013. Opposition leader who was also Kenyatta's main opponent in these elections Raila Odinga, has opposed these results. 

In the advisory, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said in a statement: 

“In the past, some political protests, rallies and demonstrations have turned violent. During this period, you should exercise a heightened level of vigilance and take care in public places where people gather.”

It then went on to advise UK citizens to monitor local and international media to avoid being caught in the demonstrations or disturbances.

“Leave any area of unrest quickly and don’t attempt to watch or photograph it. You should consider making personal contingency plans in case of unrest,” the statement added. 

The FCO have also  advised against all but essential travel to areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, Garissa County and Lamu County (excluding Lamu Island and Manda Island).

It also advised against all but essential travel to areas of Tana River north of the Tana River itself within 15km of the coast from the Tana River down to the Galana (Athi-Galana-Sabaki) River. “If you travel to Lamu Island or Manda Island, you should do so by air to Manda Airport and not by road.”

The advisory will has made an impression with the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterer (KAHC), but they are convinced that the advisory will not have a negative impact on the tourism industry.

Speaking to Tourism Update, Coast Branch Executive Officer Sam Ikwaye said: “We are happy that the UK travel advice doesn’t include our national parks, game reserves and conservancies as well as the popular beach holiday destinations at the Kenya coast”. 

He explained that tourism in the capital city, Nairobi, would also not be affected as the protests occurred in the slum areas.

Ikwaye pointed out that since the areas to which the FCO advised against all but essential travel excluded Lamu and Manda Islands, the move might even boost tourism in Lamu County.

See the original story here

- IOL