June 2015 TheStar; Tourism players at the Coast are angered by a June 3 US government advisory against Mombasa and eight other counties over a cholera outbreak.
Kenya Association of Hotel keepers and Caterers executive officer Sam Ikwaye yesterday dismissed the latest advisory “as flimsy and misplaced” since no cholera case has been reported at any tourist facility.
Ikwaye said tourism industry personnel at the Coast have undergone intensive training on hygiene conducted by the Association of British Tour Agents.
“The training has ensured that we have created champions in matters of safety and hygiene in hotels. The standards of hygiene in these facilities are very high,” said Ikwaye.
Managers and senior chefs of tourist facilities have undergone the training. “We have done a lot of to try and stabilise the region but then advisories reviewed day in day out,” said Ikwaye on telephone.
British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner is expected to meet the industry players in the region on Thursday and Friday.
Ikwaye and Kenya Coast Tourist Association chair Mohammed Hersi said they will be discussing in detail the ‘Non Essential travel advisory’.
“We are very optimistic that it will be relaxed,” said Hersi, who is also the CEO of Heritage Hotels. He posted on his official Facebook account on Monday.
Ikwaye said they want Turner to have a feel of what the tourism industry has done to ensure advisories are not issued against Kenya.
He said whenever one of the West countries issues an advisory, others follow suit. Potential tourists also cancel their visits on the basis of advisories issued by other countries, he said.
He expressed concern that the latest US advisory may further hurt the already suffering tourism industry. Ikwaye said some of the US clients have sent messages seeking clarification about the cholera situation in Mombasa.
“They received the message (advisory) that mentions Mombasa, Nakuru and Nairobi as affected areas,” Ikwaye told the Star.
Cholera outbreaks have also been reported in Kisumu, Kisii, Homabay and Migori counties. He said most of the people responsible for the issuance of the advisories lack the true picture on the ground.
“We are feeling there is a serious disconnect between the industry and whoever is in that office responsible for issuing advisories,” said Ikwaye.