Lamu, KENYA: Tourism stakeholders in Lamu are frustrated after talks between Governor Issa Timamy and officials from the French embassy to have the travel advisories lifted,failed to yield positive result.
As it is the advisories cautioning French nationals from visiting Lamu shall remain in force for an unknown duration with stakeholders terming the move as unfair.
Lamu’s tourism industry has been unstable due to insecurity which subsequently led to the imposition of travel advisories by a number of western nations.
On Wednesday,the governor led the stakeholders in meeting with French Deputy of mission Emmanuel Renoult but the talks failed to yield a reliable outcome with the envoy only stating that “anything is possible”.
Speaking at the Moonhouse Hotels in Shella when he met the stakeholders,the French diplomat said recommendations on the fate of the advisories would only be made after talks with the national security team and the French Embassy.
“Our visit here in Lamu was only meant to assess the security situation here on the ground.We have had fruitful discussion with the governor and county commissioner and at this point we shall now forward our recommendations to the top officials in charge and see the outcome.We aren’t promising anything. As at the moment, the advisories are still intact. No changes,” said Renoult.
Timamy said the five year long advisories had dealt the county tourism and general image a blow.
He said Lamu island was particularly safe for tourists and investors and called on France and the US to reconsider the advisories.
Timamy cited the Lamu Old Town as the main tourist destination and a major income earner for the region but added that due to the advisories,very low income was being recorded from the same.
“We have been appealing for the concerned states to reconsider the travel advisories. Lamu is safe and there is enough proof for that.let them lift them for the sake of our economy,”said Timamy.
“I am aware the advisories have been imposed by countries which are independent and we can’t control them since they do so based on their own assessment.
As a responsible government however,we urge our friendly states to reconsider the advisories in Lamu.The county is safe and there is enough proof for that.Our economy however isn’t doing good as a result,”said Timamy.
County Executive for Tourism Samia Omar urged for the advisories to be mapped.
“I propose that if the travel advisories cannot be lifted in entire Lamu, then atleast let them be restricted to some parts but the likes of Lamu Archipelago, Manda, Pate, Siyu, Kiwayu and other adjacent islands which are the backbone of Lamu’s economy through tourism should be lifted,” said Samia.
Lamu Tourism Association (LTA) Deputy Chairman Ghalib Alwy said tourists were snubbing Lamu as a result of the advisories.