Westgate Massacre Could Cost Kenya $200 Million in Tourism

The country of Kenya is concerned their tourism industry will be affected by the Westgate terror attacks. Tourism is an important part of Kenya's economy and Moody’s predicts the attack will cost Kenya $200 million in tourism.

Moody’s and the World Travel and Tourism Council said tourism is 14% part of Kenya’s GDP and 12% of residents work in the area. A loss of $200-$250 million would slow the GDP growth by .5%.

“Evidence would seem to indicate that 2013 could well be a very difficult year for the local tourism industry,” according to a report released Tuesday by Business Monitor International, which revised its 2013 outlook for Kenya’s tourism growth from 3 percent down to 1.5 percent.

Kenya is a popular spot, especially for tourists from the United States and Europe. At the Maasai Mara National Reserve, two million animals migrate this time of year. There are many luxury resorts along the Indian Ocean and parks with giraffes and zebras. After the attack, the US State Department issued a warning that terrorism is a concern and an attack could happen at anytime. The attack caused Bill Haynes to reconsider his 17-day safari in Kenya and Tanzania. He did go, but cancelled a stop in Lamu, a city next to Somalia where a French woman was kidnapped in 2011.

“You can’t help but be concerned,” said Haynes, 67. “Here’s a place we’re going to be in about five days and there are some terrorists shooting the place up. That would cause anybody to give some pause.”

Tourists visited the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage to see the baby elephants, but luxury hotels around the mall reported some cancellations right after the attack.

"Last week we had a lot of people trying to keep away from this area, but this week it has actually picked up and come back,” said Neelma Maru, Sales Manager of the Sankara hotel, a five-minute walk from Westgate Mall.

“Every country worldwide has crises once in a while like this,” Maru said. “I think if we fear from terrorist attacks then they gain what they wanted, putting fear in us and keeping us from living a normal life.”

The alcoholic beverages company Diageo moved their investors’ conference from Nairobi to London.


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