Nairobi attack will have minimal impact on tourism

January 18, 2019



News Release


Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys

Nairobi attack will have minimal impact on tourism

18th January 2019

ForwardKeys, which forecasts future travel patterns by analysing 17 million booking transactions a day, predicts that the impact of the terrorist attack on the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi this week will have a minimal impact on tourism to Kenya and any setback in visitor arrivals will last less than two weeks.

ForwardKeys’ opinion is based on an analysis of the attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi in 2013 and its experience of analysing similar terrorist incidents.

The 2013 terror attack had a clear and immediate impact on both international flight bookings and physical arrivals, but the effects faded after about 6 weeks. The Westgate siege started on Saturday 21stSeptember. During the first week (21-27 Sept), international bookings to Kenya dropped by 64.6%. This negative trend continued until the week of 19thOctober. During this 6 week-period, international bookings were 29.0% lower than in the equivalent period the year before. However, bookings picked-up in November; for the period 26th-October to 29th November, they grew 3.5% benchmarked against the same period in 2012.

With regard to international arrivals in Kenya, the impact was less. They started to drop from September 24th and the trend continued until October 5th. Over this 12-day period, international arrivals decreased by 9.3%. However, for the rest of the month (6-31 October) arrivals grew by 5.4%.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, said: “Of course it is likely that had the attack on Westgate been foiled in advance, there would have been no setbacks in bookings and arrivals and the growth in tourism would have continued even more strongly. However, the bottom line is that within less than two weeks, tourism to Kenya returned to growth. By comparison with the Westgate attack, fortunately fewer people have died and the siege ended more quickly, which means that the incident has received far less media attention. It is also significant that all the terrorists have been killed because the possibility of the same perpetrators striking again has been eliminated. However, if there were to be another similar attack, or spate of attacks, in the near future, as happened in Istanbul in 2015, our assessment could change.”


About ForwardKeys

ForwardKeys analyses more than 17m flight booking transactions a day, drawing data from all the major global air reservation systems and selected airlines and tour operators.  This information is enhanced with further independent data sets, including flight searchand official government statistics, plus data science to paint a picture of who is travelling where and when. ForwardKeys’ analytics are used by travel marketers, retailers, hotels, destination marketing organisations (DMOs), financial institutions, car rental companies, tour operators, online travel agents (OTAs) and other traveller-focussed businesses worldwide to monitor and anticipate traveller arrivals from a particular origin market at a specific time.  This analysis enables parties to anticipate the impact of events, better manage their staffing levels, fine tune supply requirements, adjust and measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts and anticipate future market trends.


For further information, please contact Sophie Luis, Sophie.Luis@Tarsh.comon +44 (0) 20 7112 8556 or David Tarsh, David@Tarsh.comon +44 (0) 20 7602 5262.