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CS Balala criticises foreign press over ‘poor’ coverage

The government is finding ways to counter the bad publicity occasioned by the post-election protests in some parts of the country.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala slammed foreign and international media for what he termed negative portrayal of the country but assured visitors and holidaymakers that the country was safe.

PROTESTS
Although a global advertising campaign mainly targeting Europe, Africa, Asia and America through main international media including Cable News Network (CNN), Aljazeera and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will continue, Mr Balala said he was incensed with their “exaggerated” reporting on the protests.

The minister however lauded local media for their coverage.

“The election was peaceful as has been affirmed by international observer missions. But there is the general obsession by international media to portray us negatively, which is not fair.

“We have achieved a credible election never seen in Africa before. We want facts reported,” he said at Serena Hotel in Nairobi during a press conference.

TOURISM
The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) projects that revenue generated from the industry would be about Sh110 billion this year, compared to international tourism receipts of over Sh100 billion and Sh84.6 billion made in 2016 and 2015 respectively.

KTB boss Jimi Kariuki attributed the forecast to increased tourist arrivals, which stood at 1.34 million in 2016, adding that travel and tourism are key drivers for investment and economic growth.

Statistics for this year are yet to be compiled, according to Mr Balala.

WILDEBEEST
The Kenya Tourism Federation also said the country is on its peak tourism season because of the ongoing wildebeest migration in the Maasai Mara, with most facilities in Laikipia, Naivasha, Samburu, Amboseli and Tsavo recording high occupancies.

Hotels in Kilifi are reporting a 60 per cent bed occupancy unlike Mombasa, which has low occupancy due to uncertainty around the election, despite State assurances.

Hotels in Nairobi have also recorded full occupancy until election date.

AVIATION

This took a downward trend because of the political tension and anxiety following protests in areas not far from the city.

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The tourism industry has been betting on Kenya’s achievement of Category One status, following several audit processes by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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