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Security fears drag Kenya's tourist numbers down second year in a row

NAIROBI, Kenya--Terrorist threats and wildlife poaching hurt Kenya's tourist industry for a second year in a row in 2013, where the number of visitors slumped 11 percent, press reports said Saturday.

Tourist arrivals declined to 1.09 million in 2013, down from 1.23 million the year before, according to newspaper reports citing tourism Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie.

Earnings from the tourism sector also dropped, falling two percent to 769 million euros (US$1.06 billion), down from 786 million euros in 2012.

“Insecurity in the largest part of last year saw the number of tourist source markets issue advisories against non-essential travel to Kenya and potential tourists chose alternative destinations offering similar products,” Kandie was quoted as saying.

“Kenya has also been losing its competitive advantage in the safari product due to declining wildlife population and haphazard development of accommodation facilities in major conservation areas.”

Tourism is a crucial part of Kenya's economy: according to the most recent figures from 2011, the sector directly or indirectly accounted for 14 percent of economic output and roughly 12 percent of the workforce.

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