Lamu,KENYA:Sports, Culture and Arts Cabinet Secretary Hassan Wario has asked Kenyans to invest more in Cultural tourism.
Wario who was the chief guest at the just ended 17th edition of the Lamu cultural festival that took place in the Lamu old town said the cultural aspect of tourism had been long forgotten as people focused more on other renowned forms of tourism.
The festival ran from November 16 and ended on 19.
This year’s event attracted more domestic tourists than foreign ones.
Addressing revelers who turned up for the festival on the last day of the festival on Sunday,Wario urged Kenyans to emulate the likes of Nigeria and the USA who had dedicated efforts towards preserving their cultures and even having the same incorporated in their movies commonly referred to as Nollywood and Hollywood respectively.
The CS said he was impressed by the large turnout of domestic tourists for the festival,a move he attributed to the improved state of security.
“The fact that many domestic tourists turned up this year is very impressive.People especially the youth should strive to preserve their cultures. Culture is very important. It contributes to the cultural economy which in turn assist in economic growth and development.We need to embrace Cultural tourism because it’s crucial for the country’s economic growth and development,” said Wario.
The Lamu Cultural Festival is an annual event popularly held to showcase the rich culture and heritage of Lamu’s Swahili people that has captivated the world for centuries.
According to Lamu Cultural Festival Promotional Group Secretary-General Faisal Miji, this year’s Lamu Cultural Festival was unique in its own way having attracted a huge number of domestic tourists than ever since its inception back in 2001.
Previous festivals have had the island flooding with foreign tourists but this year was the exact opposite with many linking the current political climate to the low turn out of international tourists.
“This year,the festival attracted more domestic tourists compared to other years. This is proof enough that Lamu is peaceful. We expected more international tourists but all in all, the fete was a blast and we are glad.See you in 2018,” said Miji.
Majority of those who reaped from this year’s festival were hoteliers,boat operators,fishermen and small scale traders.
This was attributed by the massive number of guests who flocked the island for the four day leading to a tripled demand for their goods and services.
Boat operators and fishermen on the Island said they were able to make huge profits within the four day period of the festival compared to what they would have made for a whole month.
The festival was also attended by politicians from other counties including Mandera Women Representative Amina Hassan Ahmed, her Isiolo counterpart Rehema Dida Jardesa and MPs Abdikarim Osman (Fafi) and Sophia Abdi Noor (Ijara).
Meanwhile, security was intensified in the entire Lamu Island and its environs as the 17th edition of the Lamu Cultural festival came to an end on Sunday.