Following the kidnapping of a Frenchwoman on a Kenyan island close to Lamu town, Britain has issued its citizens with a travel advisory warning travellers against visits to the country's coastal areas. The warning was even more urgent following a separate incident earlier in September when a British woman was kidnapped and her husband shot to death not far from the Lamu.
The impact of the travel advisory has caused grumbles in the tourism industry with many frustrated by the perceived eagerness with which the West tends to slap down travel advisories at any sign of trouble on the continent. A high proportion of travel advisories target Africa – in the American case, Africa represents more than half of all countries that have travel warnings in place for the US.
Warnings are issued in response to civil war, terrorist attacks or outbreaks of life-threatening diseases, all events which are known to take place on the African continent. However, there does appear to be a discrepancy for these advisories in relation to the West.
Different scales: Take for example reports on September 30 in which two British brothers were killed by an unmanned US drone. They are allegedly part of an agency which is planning to mount attacks in Britain, France, and Germany. France has also had a ‘recent spate of anonymous threats of attacks in Paris’, yet the British travel advisory for France just mentions “a general threat from terrorism”.
For other European countries, British travel advisories say “Like other large European countries there is a high threat from terrorism…” – by lumping it together with other "large European countries" the warning seems less threatening. This is despite the British advisory stating that “in the case of terrorism we will only advise against travel if the threat is sufficiently specific, large-scale or endemic to affect British nationals severely”.