Lamu, KENYA: This year’s 18th edition of the Lamu Cultural Festival set to run from November 22 to 25th will cost Sh.13 Million the organizers have disclosed.
Preparations are in their final stages for the annual fete which is normally marked in the historical Lamu Old Town right in the heart of the archipelago.
The town is considered a heritage site after it was listed by Unesco in 2001.
Apart from the huge economic returns, the festival is majorly marked to showcase the rich culture and heritage of Lamu’s Swahili communities.
This year’s theme is ‘Tembea Lamu’ (Visit Lamu).
Aside from culture, the festival will also witness various competitions led by the famous donkey race, swimming, dhow races and a combination of traditional dances.
Speaking in Lamu on Wednesday, the Lamu Cultural Promotional Group chairperson Ghalib Always said at least 50,000 visitors, both local and foreign are expected to attend this year’s fete.
Alwy says the theme is a motivation to encourage people to tour Lamu and explore the great array of cultural and historical sights.
“Our budget this year is Sh.13 Million. So far we are winding up the preparations. Unlike last year, this year we expect at least 50,000 guests and that’s why we have worked up an interesting theme too. All are welcome to mark this great festival with us,”said Alwy.
The Lamu County government is the major sponsor of this year’s festival with support from various donors including the Kenya Tourism Board-KTB, Magical Kenya, Kenya Ports Authority-KPA, the European Union-EU, the National Museums of Kenya-NMK among others.
Lamu County Executive for Tourism Dismas Mwasambu expressed optimism that this year’s fete will greatly boost both trade and tourism.
Mwasambu said the festival will also serve to boost the confidence of tourists and visitors considering the fact that the region has had its reputation tarnished owing to previous cases of insecurity caused by Al Shabaab attacks.
He said the crackdown by government forces on Al Shabaab inside the Boni forest had resulted in immense peace and tranquility.
“We are glad to proudly announce that Lamu is one of the safest destinations. The peace and stability we have wanted so much is finally back and we can now live lives normally thanks to the efforts of the security officers here,”said Mwasambu.
The Lamu old town is a rich reservoir of unique and well-preserved cultures that depict the lives of Africans,Arabs, and Indians who inhabited the region in past decades while also showcasing the various trades they engaged in.