Kenyan coastal economy is feeling the heat of the political crisis

The hot political temperature in the country has left the coastal economy exposed.

Key sectors of the economy have been negatively affected especially in the hospitality industry, car importation and investor confidence at the Coast.

Players in the three main sectors are crying foul that they are registering double digits losses and are not sure how long their doors would remain open for business if the crisis persists.

Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive Sam Ikwaye said political rhetoric coupled with the ongoing protests by the opposition were destroying Kenya’s credibility as a tourist destination.

“Bad politics is not good for tourism and volatile environment is not conducive for tourists hence affecting the industry.

"Political utterances and protests have hampered investor confidence. Tourists are withholding their money until the environment is safe,” said Mr Ikwaye.

Already some hotels have had bookings cancelled especially conferences and therefore if the situation persists, hotels will shut down due to lack of customers and hundreds of workers will be rendered jobless he warned.

The crisis couldn't’t have come at a worse time than now when the coastal region is gearing up for high peak travel season.

“Kenya risks being slapped with travel advisories if the demos continue. Farmers will also be affected because they will have no market or hotel to supply their produce. My advice to Kenyans is to stop giving politicians credibility,” Ikwaye added.

Tourism industry normally takes a long time to recover even after a political solution has been broken and tourism being the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue, Kenya has a lot at stake.

The motor industry has not had it any easier either and is not sitting pretty.

The Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) chairman, Peter Otieno said pressure and political height has reduced the importation and sale of motor vehicles by 60 per cent.

“September, October, November and December is always a high peak season for our business. 15,000 plus vehicles can be imported in the month of December alone but right now Kenyans are not buying vehicles,” he said.

The players have urged opposition leader Raila Odinga (Nasa) and President Uhuru Kenyatta (Jubilee) to hold talks to salvage the situation.

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