MALL ATTACK TO COST KENYA $200 MILLION IN TOURISM

A giraffe eats a food pellet from the mouth of a foreign visitor at the Giraffe Centre, in the Karen neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. The risk to the country’s tourism was one of the first concerns expressed by officials during the initial days of the Westgate Mall siege, but tourists continue to fly to Kenya for safaris and beach vacations seemingly despite a number of foreigners being killed in last week’s attack. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

By JACOB KUSHNER

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — When Ohio resident Bill Haynes heard about the shooting at Westgate Mall by Islamic extremist gunmen last month, he considered canceling his upcoming 17-day safari to Kenya and Tanzania.

“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.”

Acting on advice from a friend in Nairobi, Haynes went through with his trip except for a stop at Lamu, a coastal city near Somalia where a French woman was kidnapped in 2011.

The risk to tourism was one of the first concerns officials expressed after the attack that left at least 67 dead including 18 foreigners. Tourism generates 14 percent of Kenya’s GDP and employs 12 percent of its workforce, according to Moody’s Investment Services and the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Moody’s predicts the attack will cost Kenya’s economy $200 million to $250 million in lost tourism revenue, estimating it will slow growth of Kenya’s GDP by 0.5 percent. Kenya’s 2012 GDP was $41 billion.

Read the full story as it appeared at the Associated Press.

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