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Kenya, tourism income down on euro crisis and al Shabaab

By on March 16, 2012

NAIROBI – Kenya expects tourism revenues to fall this year

as the euro zone crisis hits confidence in key markets and foreign governments issue travel alerts over the threat from Somalian militants, its tourism minister said on Thursday.

One of Kenya’s major foreign earners alongside tea and horticulture, tourism took a record 98 billion shillings in 2011, but that looks set to fall back this year to around the 74 billion shillings of 2010.

“The projection for 2012 does not look good. We will retain revenues of 2010 but passenger numbers will decline by 15 percent,” Najib Balala told Reuters in an interview.

“I’m cautious of 2012. I’m worried, not only cautious. If we are lucky, we will only reach the 2010 figures not even 2011.”

Visitors from China and other growing markets drove a surge in Kenya’s tourism revenues last year, but the euro zone crisis and fears of a repeat of 2007’s election violence are likely to hurt arrivals in 2012, tourism officials have warned.

Britain, the United States and Australia have issued travel advisories to citizens intending to visit Kenya following the killing of tourists in the coastal resort of Lamu.

Kenya sent troops across the border last year to root out the Somali al Qaeda-linked militant group, al Shabaab, blamed for the attacks, an escalation that has raised concerns about tourist safety

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