Tourism boom in Lamu after travel advisories are lifted

Tourism boom in Lamu after travel advisories are lifted
By KALUME KAZUNGU
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Tourism and investments are booming in Lamu County following the lifting of travel advisories by most foreign countries.

For the past five years, Lamu’s tourism sector has suffered adversely owing to the insecurity brought about by Al-Shabaab attacks which resulted to the killings of security officers and civilians.

In September 2011, a British tourist couple, David Tebbutt, 58 and his wife Judith Tebbutt, while set for a dream holiday at Kiwayu Safari Village Resort in Lamu East, were kidnapped in what is believed to be the first ever Al-Shabaab invasion in the region.

In June, 2014, Al-Shabaab militants attacked Mpeketoni town and its environs, including Kibaoni and Witu, and killed more than 100 residents and destroyed property worth millions of shillings.

This prompted some foreign countries including France and UK to introduce travel restrictions to Lamu for their citizens.

This put the tourism sector in the county in jeopardy.

But speaking shortly after hosting British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey at the Shella Peponi Hotel at the weekend, Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha reiterated that the lifting of the travel advisories by most foreign countries, particularly the UK, in March 2017 has greatly improved the tourism sector which was previously in a state of collapse.

Mr Twaha said the lifting of the travel restrictions by the UK to its citizens has seen an increase in the number of international tourists visiting Lamu.

MORE GOODIES

He also said the number of investors coming to Lamu has risen and that he is looking forward for more goodies.

“I thank the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, for visiting us here in Lamu. We have had a fruitful discussion on how the already existing good working relationship between Kenya, particularly Lamu, and the UK will be strengthened.

“As you know, the UK lifted its travel advisories to its citizens against visiting Lamu about a year ago. That alone has already boosted tourism and investment in Lamu. We have seen a rise in the number of investors as well as tourists coming to this region,” said Mr Twaha.

He pledged to ensure the county’s leadership creates a good working environment for the various investors willing to do business in Lamu.

Mr Twaha urged countries that still have active travel advisories to lift them saying they hinder the growth of the tourism sector, investment and the general development of Lamu.

HAPPY TO VISIT

Commenting on the same, Mr Hailey said he was happy to visit the region which is currently enjoying peace and stability.

He acknowledged the existence of a cordial relationship between the Kenyan government and the UK, with Lamu already benefiting from the various vocational trainings provided by his country.

The UK envoy said he had experienced utmost calm and peace during his tour in the county and said he is expecting more international tourists to come to Lamu for holidays.

He said the UK, being the biggest investor in Kenya, would lend all the necessary help in education, trainings and other areas so that Lamu people are empowered.

“I am humbled to be in Lamu. It’s a wonderful place to be. I have toured the Lamu Lapsset project site as well as meeting Governor Fahim Twaha. Lamu and the UK have a long history which we don’t want to lose. UK being the biggest investor in this country, we shall continue partnering with the Kenyan government in ensuring Lamu and the whole nation achieves development,” said Mr Hailey.