Travel ban must be lifted says Kenyan leaders

Violence in Kenya has affected the tourism industry

Travel Insurance News - 03/03/2008

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Travel advisories warning travelers against holidays in Kenya have battered the country’s tourism sector, damage that Kenyan opposition chief Raila Odinga is trying to reverse by calling on governments to lift their travel bans. According to Odinga, peace has been restored and there is no longer any danger to foreign visitors vacationing in Kenya.

Last week President Mwai Kibaki signed a power sharing agreement with Odinga, putting an end to the violence that had been raging in the African nation and which had resulted in the deaths of at least 1,500 people and the displacement of thousands of others.

Odinga went on holiday himself to the Kenyan resort city of Mobasa, showing the press and the world that it is safe to return. "I want to confirm that with the signing of the accord ... peace has come back to our country," he said.

"There is no need for anyone to fear coming to our country, therefore I make a passionate appeal to the countries that issued travel advisories to the tourists ... to remove those advisories immediately," he told NTV television.

Kibaki has also been urging tourists to take up their travels to Kenya once again, claiming that the country has stabilized.

Violence erupted after the presidential elections on December 27th, which Odinga accused Kibaki of stealing, resulting in almost two months of chaos in the country.

Fights over electoral politics tapped into a deep well of resentment over larger issues connected to land, poverty and ethnic dominance. The violence has not only affected the tourism sector but also agriculture and the economy as a whole.

According to officials in Kenya’s tourism industry, the country has already lost large revenues from tourism, causing many hotels to close or cut back and resulting in many workers becoming unemployed.

As long as a government stands behind its travel advisory to Kenya, citizens of that country will likely not be covered by their travel insurance if they insist on vacationing there. To date, the UK, the US and several European nations have lifted their travel advisory to Kenya. Australia is likely to follow suite later this week.

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