The Lamu tourism industry is expected to receive a boost this season after more than 100 tourist agents from key tourism hubs landed in the county over the weekend to assess the security situation with view to market Lamu tourism to the outside world.
The representatives mostly from China, United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), France and Germany also interacted with hundreds of locals within Lamu Old Town in a one day event dubbed ‘Lamu Seafront Rehabilitation.
The event which involved more than 700 participants including tour guides, hoteliers, teachers and students was majorly aimed at discovering Lamu Archipelago and conducting activities aiming at face-lifting the historical town and heritage site through painting of the various building in the town.
Addressing journalists at the Lamu Fort during the event, Lamu County Tourism and Culture Executive Ms Samia Omar said the arrival of the 100 tourist representatives is an indication that Lamu tourism is getting back to its feet.
Ms Samia said they were expecting more visitors this season who had already booked hotels in the Island.
He lauded the French embassy’s recent move to review the travel advisories where French citizens can now tour the region after a five year ban following a spate of terror attacks that rocked the region between 2011 and 2015.
“We are happy. We have received a group of tourists through efforts by the Royal Africa Safaris. These travelers from various foreign countries have come to Lamu to interact with locals, discover Lamu and be able to go and market the county’s tourism to their respective countries,” said Ms Samia.
Hotel owners who were interviewed by the Coast Newspaper expressed optimism that the arrival of the foreign visitors will help boost the county’s image.
Former Lamu Tourism Association (LTA) Deputy Chairman who is also the proprietor of Bush Gardens Hotel and Restaurant Mr Ghalib Alwy said they had already began receiving international bookings in their hotels particularly for December holidays.
“We expect by December hotels will receive even 100 per cent bookings. We are hoping that what the visitors have experienced in Lamu and the warm welcome they received will enable them encourage other tourists to visit Lamu in the coming months,” said Mr Ghalib.
Commenting on the same however, Lamu County Commissioner Mr Joseph Kanyiri said he was happy that tourists are confident to tour the region.
He said Lamu is peaceful and called on more visitors to come to the county.
“The government will utilize resources in ensuring the security of locals and visitors is protected. Lamu is peaceful and we call on more visitors to visit Lamu,” said Mr Kanyiri.
(Story by Nekeesha Wema)