TCB’S Miscellaneous Ramblings

Posted on April 4th, 2017
Categories: News

 Everyone keeps asking me about the state of play in Kenya tourism. As a born optimist I tend not listen to stories of gloom and doom but instead look for the bright light at the end of the tunnel. I’m now told reliably there is no bright light. One of the best coasts in the world with its award winning beaches lies virtually empty. With the beaches empty, the hotels struggle to survive. Kenya’s coast is or was all about mass tourism, with large numbers of package holidaymakers arriving on charter flights from Europe directly into Mombasa. Today few still operate, even those that do, with vastly reduced capacity. Our safari destinations to the best game parks and reserves in the world are bereft of tourists. In times of plenty particularly during the migration, deals can still be had, something not previously experienced. Resident rates abound. Local so-called domestic tourism is growing but at a very slow pace, it need impetus driven by the Kenya Tourist Board. Today not tomorrow. Conference tourism if it can be called that is propping up the Kenyan hotel industry. But it is exceptionally price sensitive, with unbelievable deals to be had. From a tourism perspective Kenya is simply not on any western countries radar right now. We are simply not front-of-face, an oft repeated retort to my saying I’m from Kenya is “That’s not a very safe place is it?’ The simple answer to that is that it is a safe travel destination. We need to change perceptions such as this and this is all about promoting the destination and not simply relying on National Geographic or Animal Planet to generate interest. Our tourist board with its new leader needs to start dishing-the-dosh, with advertising and marketing campaigns across our proven source markets. There was talk some years ago of combining all that is Kenya into a shop-front; in for example London, New York and so on. Come in for a tea or coffee; see what Kenya has to offer from a broad range of perspectives to include obviously tourism. A public-private partnership enterprise. What happened to that? Like another prominent promoter of tourism to Kenya, I choose to remain optimistic – but I’d like a little help from my government. Promote, promote, promote – it is the only way to turn the tide. One of the great promoters of Kenya tourism was recently photographed onboard a flight from London wearing a surgical mask. The ‘Man in the Iron Mask’ came to mind. He had this to say on a recent FaceBook post: I flew back to Nairobi last night. Some airlines, including British Airways, are now spraying passengers with insecticide on flights INTO Nairobi as well as out. The sprays contain toxic chemicals. Phenothrin or synthetic pyrethroids, which are neurotoxins are routinely used for “disinsection”. Reported symptoms after breathing in the spray include acute respiratory and sinus problems, rash/ hives, headache, and anaphylactic shock, as well as chronic immune, respiratory, and neurological problems. With little ventilation and in such a closed space, spraying pesticides on airplanes while passengers are still on board does not seem a good idea, particularly for sensitive groups like children, pregnant mothers, and the wazee like me! A friend of his added to the post: There is no evidence justifying this very superficial fumigation process. It used to be done in Australia, now discontinued. Suggest a campaign of class action or similar vs. airlines doing this. Very toxic and entirely unnecessary. Masks will not help with skin contact and these chemicals/fumigants require activated charcoal respirators, not ‘masks’. Now that’s a worrying story for all of us. A response to our last edition asked the question why we made no mention of the situation in Laikipia with illegal herders invading ranches and game conservancies. Sometimes violently, loss of life followed, An inept government response which was a longtime coming hardly stemmed the tide. Ironically it was the international press that brought this situation to the top of our governments to-do list. It must be pretty embarrassing to be told by a reporter in London that you have a problem just down the road. Onward & upward…..

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