David Scowsill, president and CEO, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), is urging confidence in Kenya to be maintained despite the recent terrorist attacks.
Kenyan officials say at least 62 people were killed and 200 wounded in the weekend attack in a Nairobi shopping mall, while 63 were reported missing, according to Reuters. Islamist fighters from Somalia's al Shabaab were alleged to be responsible.
Addressing the Africa Hotel Investment Forum in Nairobi, Scowsill called for "solidarity with the citizens of Kenya, as the country comes to terms with the terrorist attack."
“Travel & Tourism brings people together, it allows us to build relationships, to understand other cultures and as such is a vehicle of diplomacy and trade. Travel & Tourism drives peace and understanding in the war against terror," Scowsill said.
Travel & Tourism is resilient, Scowsill said: “Over the past two decades we have faced challenges in the shape of terrorism, economic crises, natural and man-made disasters. On each occasion Travel & Tourism has returned to growth with remarkable speed.”
Terrorist attacks are tragically a fact of life that the industry has learned to live with over the years, the WTTC said. "Coupled with natural disasters like the Icelandic ash cloud, there are constant challenges for government and private sector leaders. After the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, within a year domestic, outbound and international tourism was back to pre-disaster levels."
“While other industries can take time to recover from such shocks, Travel & Tourism can be up and running within days or even hours after a terrorist incident. It is crucial in these situations that a country remains open to tourism. The message has to be clear – tourists are welcome and safe in the destination, and they will have the wonderful experience that they are seeking,” Scowsill said.