Tourism stakeholders in Lamu call for lifting of travel advisories

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Lamu, KENYA: Tourism stakeholders in Lamu County have urged countries that have active travel advisories to have them lifted since they are a hindrance to the growth of the sector.

Speaking at the Mwana Arafa hotel in Lamu on Saturday when they met to discuss the status of the tourism sector in the county,the stakeholders expressed displeasure with some of the countries including the US and Britain that still have active advisories on Lamu.

In a recent report,tourists from the US have been warned against touring northern Kenya and all areas bordering the Kenya Somalia border including Lamu,Tana River and Garissa.

The report also listed Eastleigh in Nairobi as an area to be avoided by tourists.

The stakeholders said the continued existence of the advisories has made many potential and willing tourists to shun the county and stop visiting altogether.

They have called on the government to conduct in-depth consultations with the relevant embassies and see to it that the advisories are promptly lifted.

Lamu’s acting tourism executive Kaviha Khamis said the security situation of Lamu was okay and that there was no valid reason for the advisories to still be in place.

“We are really looking forward to the removal of the travel advisories so that Lamu’s tourism can blossom and flourish once again.the government has done enough to ensure security is okay,”said Kaviha.

Lamu’s director for tourism Ali Ahmed said a lot of efforts have been put into trying to recover the tourism sector but that the biggest stumbling block is the presence travel advisories.

He said the sector had temporarily been relieved after some nations including France lifted advisories on Lamu last year.

“The county has been holding numerous festivals just to attract more tourists. A lot of money has gone into trying to revive the tourism sector and as much as we are making some progress,the issue of travel advisories is still a big problem,” said Ahmed.

Lamu’s tourism sector suffered a huge blow following Alshabaab attacks in Mpeketoni,Kibaoni,Witu and Hindi in June and July 2014.

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