KAMPALA, Uganda (eTN) – The US ambassador to Kenya, Michael E.Ranneberger, has taken the unusual step of writing an open letter to American travelers and businesspeople throughout the United States urging them to consider a visit to Kenya following the establishment of the new “Grand Coalition” government.
“I’m sure many of you have been following recent events in Kenya, specifically the crisis triggered by the sharply disputed results of elections held in late December,” Ranneberger wrote. “The resulting problems, including significant violence, were covered widely by the international media. This unfortunate chain of events led to a great deal of short-term damage to the Kenyan economy, and especially to the country’s dynamic and world-class tourism industry”.
In the letter, the US ambassador stated, “I can report that there have been positive developments that are opening up the economic climate and making Kenya once again the perfect locale for business and tourism.
“The country’s rival political camps reached a landmark power-sharing agreement on February 28, and Parliament acted quickly to codify this through a constitutional amendment. “
According to the US ambassador, Kenyan President Kibaki and Kenyan Prime MinisterRailaOdingaare working closely together to forge this new coalition of parties in a new spirit of goodwill and unity.
He also said: “I urge you to look again at Kenya as an exciting destination for tourism and for doing business, be it trade or investment. In 2007, a record 102,000 Americans visited Kenya, many to enjoy the richness of the country’s culture and the majesty of its landscapes and unparalleled wildlife.”
Ambassador Ranneberger,referring to the US State Department’s Travel Warning for Kenya, said: “It does not recommend against travel to Kenya. It is similar to travel warnings issued for several dozen other countries, many of which are also close friends of the US.”
He added: “I hope you’ll consider visiting Kenya as a tourist or businessperson in 2008. The country is very much back in business and this is an exciting time to be here. There is a tangible spirit of renewed hope and opportunity. You’ll find Kenyans to be welcoming and warm.”
“I hope to see you here soon,” the US ambassador concluded.