Life in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi has returned to a sense of normalcy, albeit with deep sorrow, after 21 people were killed in an attack on an upmarket hotel complex.
Security controlled gates at the DusitD2 hotel complex, located in the Nairobi suburb of Westlands, were breached on Tuesday afternoon at roughly 3pm by armed men.
Kenyan Security Forces were quick to evacuate hundreds of people to safety, but unfortunately, 21 people were killed in the attack, including 16 Kenyans, one Briton, one American and three others of “African descent who are yet to be identified”. Another 28 people were reported as injured and are being treated in hospital.
Kenya’s government has confirmed that the attack officially ended on Wednesday morning, 20 hours after it commenced, with all buildings affected by the attack cleared and secured by security forces. All assailants are believed to have been left dead.
The country’s tourism leaders said their thoughts and prayers were with all those affected by the incident and reassured travellers that the country is secure, calm and safe for visitors.
“From Kenya Tourism Federation we can confirm that the situation in Nairobi is calm and security is stable.”
Kenya Tourism Federation
“All means of transport are operating normal schedules including the international airports in both Nairobi and Mombasa including the train connection between Nairobi and Mombasa,” the Federation continued.
“We are also happy to report that all tourist circuits across Kenya are operating normally.”
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In a Facebook statement, Dusit Hotels & Resorts explained that management and staff were extremely saddened by the act of violence and extended its deepest sympathies to those affected.
Management thanked local authorities for their swift response to the incident and said current and upcoming guests will be relocated to other hotels in the city.
“The hotel is closed until further notice.”
Dusit Hotels & Resorts
Tour operator, World Journeys, has advised that all its clients currently in Kenya are safe and that the DusitD2 is not generally used by tourists as it’s in a commercial area.
“All tourist services in Kenya are operating normally, and our partners on the ground confirm that the situation in Nairobi is calm and security is stable.”
Martin Edwards, the General Manager of African specialist Bench Africa, said in a statement that despite the incident the tour operator has not received any cancellations in the last 24 hours, only some messages of concern.
He explained that it is business as usual and that over a dozen of the new enquiries that came through yesterday incorporated Kenya.
“At this stage we do not see any direct effect with regard to cancellations or amended tour programmes.”
Martin Edwards, Bench Africa General Manager
“Unfortunately terrorism is global and no country can stand up and say that they are 100% safe but our suppliers have reassured us that all is calm in Nairobi and in Kenya and the tourism industry continues to operate as normal,” he explained.
“Security has been heightened in and around the city, but normalcy has returned.”
Read on for KARRYON’s Q&A about the situation in Kenya with Martin:
Are you familiar with the hotel attacked in Nairobi this week? Would you say it’s frequented by Australian tourists?
This is not a hotel that we contract with and therefore do not use. The attack was isolated to the DusitD2 hotel complex located in the Westlands suburb. This hotel is not typically frequented by Australian tourists.
Despite the attack, what’s your opinion of Kenya in terms of traveller safety?
Unfortunately, terrorism is global and no country can stand up and say that they are 100% safe but our suppliers on the ground in Kenya have reassured us that all is calm in Nairobi and in Kenya and the tourism industry continues to operate as normal.
Will Bench Africa be changing or cancelling any upcoming itineraries in Kenya?
All means of transport are operating normal schedules including the international airports. All tourist circuits across Kenya are operating normally. It has only been 24 hours since the incident but at this stage, we do not see any direct effect with regard to cancellations or amendments to tour programmes. Kenya remains united and looks forward to welcoming tourists.
If not, what is Bench Africa doing to ensure its guests are safe on upcoming trips?
Our suppliers have reassured us that all is calm in Nairobi and in Kenya and the tourism industry continues to operate as normal. Security has been heightened in and around the city, but normalcy has returned.
We have eyes and ears on the ground with our parent company in Kenya who run all of our tours. They are able to quickly and efficiently liaise any news and updates to their drivers/guides so our customers are in the safest possible hands. Furthermore, Bench has a 24-hour emergency phone available to travellers to ensure we can assist should any issues arise.
What safety advice do you have for Australians visiting Kenya in the coming months?
Ensure they book through a reputable company and whether Australians are visiting Kenya, or any other country around the world, we remind them to visit and register their holiday on www.smartraveller.gov.au to ensure they receive the latest government advice on travel safety and security.
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Are you or any of your clients booked to visit Kenya in the coming months?
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