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Update from EJAfrica on Westgate Mall Attack

The terrorist attack in the Westgate Shopping Mall in the Westlands suburb of Nairobi is a tragic event which has shocked Kenyans and the international community. At this time our thoughts are with all those who have been personally affected by this terrible tragedy.

Kenya is a peaceful country and the people of Kenya are among the friendliest and most hospitable of anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, the random and isolated attacks of global terrorists can happen anywhere. Just as England, America and Spain have experienced terrorist attacks in recent years, the same has now happened in a crowded shopping mall in a suburb of Nairobi, causing deaths and injuries to many innocent people, both Kenyans and other nationalities. The President of Kenya, police and army responded swiftly and have increased security across the country to ensure the protection of its people and visitors. It is important to note that this was not an attack against tourists. Westgate Mall is not a venue that tourists would normally visit; it is an upmarket mall in a busy shopping district frequented by residents of Nairobi.

The shopping area where Westgate Mall is situated is a 1 hour drive from JKIA, Wilson Airport and from the usual boutique hotels that we recommend, mostly in the neighborhood of Karen. Therefore even our clients who have had transfers around Nairobi over the weekend, are long way away from the affected area.

Kenya's tourism industry is not affected and all tourism facilities and services continue to operate as normal without any disruption to our clients'itineraries. President Kenyatta has urged that international visitors not to be deterred from traveling to Kenya and not to allow the terrorists to achieve their aim of damaging the country's economy by frightening people away. Other international leaders have urged that isolated and random terrorist atrocities which happen in many different parts of the world should not stop people from leading normal lives.

We are taking the following measure for clients traveling to Kenya:

  • We are offering VIP meet and greets for all our client to enable a smoother and faster transition through the airport. The extra cost is $35 per person.
  • We are avoiding any public areas or large gatherings. This includes any shopping at the malls in Nairobi.

If you do not feel comfortable traveling to Kenya and have purchased insurance with Travel Guard, please note that terrorism attacks are covered under your policy and you are allowed to cancel if a terrorist incident occurs within 30 days of your departure date in a city listed on your itinerary. A "Terrorist Incident” is defined as an act of violence, that is deemed terrorism by the United States Government other than civil disorder or riot (that is not an act of war, declared or undeclared) that results in loss of life or major damage to property, by any person acting on behalf of or in connection with any organization which is generally recognized as having the intent to overthrow or influence the control of any government.

If you have not purchased cancellation and trip interruption insurance, you may still do so before your trip.

We look forward to welcoming you to Kenya soon and will continue to monitor the situation carefully, safety is our highest priority.

You can read more about how the tourism industry is responding here, including a quote from Extraordinary Journeys President Marcia Gordon; and the Kenya government's response from Mrs Phyllis Kandie, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for EAC Affairs, Commerce and Tourism here.

Please feel free to contact us at 212-226-7331 with any questions.

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Jamie Mehrotra