(Xinhua) -- Kenya’s tourism
stakeholders on Friday welcomed the lifting of travel
ban by Britain that barred its citizens from traveling
to Lamu County in the coastal region.
had warned its citizens against visiting Kenya’s coast
and northeastern region, citing terror attack threats by
Al-Shabaab and high crime rates.
Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers Coast
executive Sam Ikwaye said the decision will assist in
the restoration of Lamu that was once a tourist hub in
Ikwaye said the decision was long overdue citing the
declining cases of terrorist attacks in Lamu.
"The decision will be a major boost to the tourism
sector as such advisories had hurt business owing to the
negative effects. We remain optimistic," said Ikwaye.
Heritage Hotels CEO Mohammed Hersi commended the
British government and urged the U.S. to also lift the
non essential travel advisory in Lamu.
"It was one long painful wait for Lamu.
"It will let us now pick the pieces and promote Lamu
"The island was never affected by terror attacks
hence the advisory was misplaced," Hersi said.
Lamu County has previously had a series of attacks
targeted on non-Muslims in what the police boss said is
a mission to divide Kenyans along religious lines.
More than 100 people were killed in a series of
attacks in Mpeketoni area, within the County by the
militants in 2014.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Britons
are free to visit any national park, reserve and
wildlife conservancies in the country.
The country, however, in its notice on Thursday
advised against travel to Manda or Lamu Islands by road.
"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office no longer advise
against travel to Lamu Island and Manda.
"If you travel to Lamu Island or Manda you should do
so by air and not by road," it said in its advisory on
Among areas British tourists are allowed to visit
include the Aberdare National Park, Amboseli, Laikipia,
Lake Nakuru, Masai Mara, Meru and Mount Kenya.
UK tourists are also allowed to sample attractions in
Samburu, Shimba Hills, and Tsavo as well as book
reservations at beach resorts in Mombasa, Malindi,
Kilifi, Watamu, and Diani.
Britain is concerned about threats from terrorism,
especially from extremists linked to Al-Shabaab who are
against the country’s military operation in Somalia.
In January, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala
asked the U.S. government to lift the travel advisory it
issued to its citizens against visiting Kenya.
Balala said such advisories were unjustified, citing
the reduction of terrorist attacks in the region.
Kenyan 2016 tourism arrivals increasing by seventeen per cent