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Kenyans hope to cash in on Obama visit

Kimberly Adams Jul 24, 2015
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During his first trip to Kenya as president, Barack Obama is expected to discuss ways to fight regional terrorism with with the countries leaders and speak at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in the capital, Nairobi.

Kenyan businesses are prepping for his visit and for the thousands of diplomats and conference-goers expected to descend on Nairobi for the summit.
 
“I’ve been having so many many clients coming in,” says David Meeriah of Nairobi’s Capital Limo Services. He says his fleet of luxury cars is fully booked, and  he’ll make enough in the next few days to pay salaries for the next three months.  

Kenyan tour operators like Hamadi Durogi of African Wildcats Adventure Safaris are banking on those who won’t go home right away.

“We’ve seen like a 40 percent increase in business and also in inquiries,” he says. His company, like many others, offers an Obama Safari with a stop in the hometown of the president’s father.

Smaller vendors are flooding the capital with Obama-themed T-shirts, hats and posters. They’re hoping his visit will bring back tourists frightened away by recent terrorist attacks.

“Since the president of the United States is going to be here, it’s going to be proof enough that Kenya is very very safe,” Durogi says. 

He and others in Kenya’s tourism industry are hoping the economic boost will last long after the president’s departure.

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