Chairman of the Kenya Tourism is allaying fears of visitors’ safety to the East Africa country following last Tuesday’s terror attack in Nairobi. In a statement, Mohammed Hersi said, the country remains one of the best and safest places on the face of the planet to visit.
Read full statement below:
On behalf of Kenya’s tourism fraternity we would like to send our heartfelt condolences to all those who lost their loved ones. Those of us in the hotel industry we lost people known to us. Many innocent Kenyans going about their daily chores met untimely death.
To the injured we pray for your quick recovery. To the affected businesses we pray for you to rise like the proverbial bird Phoenix.
To our gallant brave forces YOU guys are special, Kenya Red cross and very many brave Kenyans and many other people including members of the International community who took part in the rescue process we cannot thank you enough.
We are unbowed and as Kenyans we are stronger more than ever before.
Terror attacks should NOT define Kenya. We are peace loving people. We are ONE of the friendliest humans on mother earth. A Kenyan smile is so natural that it complements the Big 5 that attracts millions to visit Kenya. The fact that many Diplomats and expatriates would find any reason to remain behind after their term of office is enough proof that Kenya is one of the best places to call home. I would never trade Kenya for anything else.
Within hours of the attack Kenyans of all walks of life rushed to the nearest hospitals that were expecting casualties to donate blood. Within an hour blood banks were full and a stand down was issued. As night fell at the scene of the incident ordinary Kenyans came to serve a hot meal to the rescuers. An old lady was on site on her own to serve hot tea to keep everyone warm as they worked hard to secure safe passage for anyone still trapped in the building. This is the true spirit of Kenya, this is who we are .
For tourism, 5 or 10 years ago the world would have isolated us when such an attack happened but not anymore. The same has happened in far more sophisticated cities like London, Brussels, Paris, New York et al. No city in the world can claim to be 100 insulated from a terror attack. We thank the International community for standing with Kenya and these days they are not quick to judge and punish the victims a second time with painful travel advisories. When it happened in Paris, world leaders converged there as a show of solidarity.
We are down but never out. Kenyans are resilient; our will to thrive is as strong as steel and as brave as a lion. If you had planned to come to visit Kenya please do so, nothing should stop you. We live here close to 50 million of us, we are not about to relocate. We sleep and wake up here. Our children go to school right here. We lead normal lives so anyone asking you to defer your travel plans would be totally ignorant. You are not any safer in LA or New York, London or Mumbai, Paris or Madrid.
To the media including the local media, to report you must but do it with decorum and civility. The victims are already traumatised enough. Splashing their terrified faces as headlines in your papers is quite insensitive. To the likes of New York Times you cannot have two set of rules. We have never seen a picture of the hundreds killed by shooters across America. Journalism ethos is global and victims anywhere in the world deserve their privacy.
Our security forces have nipped many other planned attacks behind the scenes. When one attack happens please keep in mind that 10 others have been foiled some very serious ones and our security team work 24/7 round the clock to protect us. If Kenya is safe for ordinary Kenyans then it should also be safe for you as our visitor.
God Bless Magical Kenya and as always I choose to remain an optimist.
Kenya Tourism Federation