Kenya’s tourism marketers have vowed to leverage cultural festivals as part of efforts to boost tourism.
“This is the opportunity for other counties to look at what they have that, if developed, can pull visitors to their respective regions,” Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Acting CEO John Chirchir said at the sidelines of this year’s Lamu Cultural Festival, a major tourist event that ended in the coastal Lamu on Sunday evening.
The festival, which first started in 2001, is a four-day event celebrating coastal Lamu’s heritage and traditions in a carnival atmosphere.
Chirchir has termed the events as one of the major catalysts for the growth of regional tourism in the country and appealed to the players in the sector to leverage the existing opportunities.
The 20th edition of Lamu Cultural Festival has been hailed as one of the most successful cultural events in the recent past, attracting the participation of over 30,000, including visitors from Europe, the United States and other countries.
Each year, the Lamu Archipelago, a cluster of islands along Kenya’s north coast, comes to life during the annual Lamu cultural festival.
Lamu Old Town has a unique cultural heritage passed down for over 700 years, an attribute that earned Lamu Island a place in the coveted UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites in 2001.
Lamu Tourism Association chairperson Khalib Ahmed, on his part, said the cultural event has had a direct positive knock-on effect across the value chain down to the common person.
“This is a big impact on the Lamu economy, positively affecting all tiers of economic livelihoods,” he said. “We are ready to share our success with other counties as we strive to take this annual event a notch higher for the benefit of the Lamu people who majorly depend of tourism business.”
During the festival, hospitality facilities within Lamu Island recorded a brisk business with hotels, restaurants reporting impressive margins.
The festival is usually marked by traditional dances, displays of handicrafts and unique competitions on water and land, Swahili poetry, donkey races, dhow races, henna painting, and musical performances.
Lamu cultural festival reveals an important part of Swahili culture with an opportunity to experience the island’s unspoiled beaches, medieval ambiance, architecturally magnificent Old Town, gracious population, and traditions of an enchanted island where history continues to live. Enditem