Arun Sudhaman 09 Apr 2015 // 2:14PM GMT
NAIROBI—Kenya has hired PR firm Grayling to help revive tourism and inward investment, as terrorist attacks weaken the country's international brand.
The country's Ministry of East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism selected Grayling for the global brief following a competitive tender. The agency is charged with promoting Kenya’s potential globally and supporting government efforts to communicate its message more effectively.
Kenyan tourism has been declining since 2013, following the Westgate mall attack in which 67 people were killed by Somali terror group al-Shabaab during a four-day-long siege. Earlier this month, meanwhile, the same group killed 148 people at Kenya's Garissa University.
Speaking at an event to launch regional tourism and investment initiatives, Phylis Kandie, cabinet secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, said that "Kenya is enduring very difficult times brought about by a problem affecting cities and countries across the world."
"Our tourism sector is particularly affected," added Kandie. "The profound nature of this problem cannot be overstated and as a Government, we are well aware of the importance of confronting the key issues and restoring our reputation as Africa’s number one visitor destination."
“We have international support across a range of issues, but it is critical that we also have alongside us an experienced partner like Grayling, who can mobilise their global network to ensure that our message is communicated effectively to every corner of the world."
"We are realistic in our expectations," continued Kandie. "This process will take time. However, tourism plays one of the most significant roles in fostering the country’s economy and we now have Grayling support to assist us in reassuring the world that vast parts of Kenya are safe to travel to and open for visitors and business."
Grayling senior client advisor Lord Chadlington, the former CEO of parent company Huntsworth, said that the firm would aim to "promote an image of Kenya that both addresses the key concerns and attracts regional and international visitors back to this most special country."