Return of Lamu Cultural Festival boon for hoteliers
Hoteliers in Lamu are set to reap big with the comeback of the annual Lamu Cultural Festival.
The four-day festival is hailed as the holy grail of Lamu’s tourism and festival calendar due to the number of tourists who flock to the World Heritage Site for the showcase and allure of Swahili culture.
According to the Lamu County Tourism Department, it is estimated that the return of the festival after a two-year break following the Covid-19 crisis, will bring great tides in terms of the economy of the county. The crisis saw a decline in tourists and a lockdown on the county’s festival calendar.
Many guests have had to resort to seeking accommodation from Lamu Island residents, with some home owners making room for guests due to the high demand for accommodation during the 20th edition of the festival.
Lamu calendar of events include the famed Lamu Yoga Festival, as well as Eid-Ul-Adha, Maulid festival, Food and Expo Festival, Lamu fishing competition and Lamu Painters and Hat expo.
Speaking to the media yesterday during the first day of the Festival, Lamu Palace Hotel Manager Keziah Mumbi said the hotel was fully booked throughout the festival period and hailed the comeback of the festival calendar as a boon for tourism, which she noted had significantly declined in recent years.
“Most of the hotels in Lamu, had resorted to subsidising or closing down their hotels during the low season, but with the return of the Lamu festival calendar, we expect our establishments to remain in operation and viable throughout the year,” she said.
Lamu Floating Bar and Restaurant owner and Lamu Tourism Association vice chairperson Fridah Njeri expressed optimism with the comeback of the festival which she said had seen a marked increase in guests, especially domestic ones.
“Lamu is slowly shedding its reputation as a security operational area and slowly transforming itself as a unique tourist hub due to its festival calendar,” she said, adding that she had also seen an increase of guests in her establishment.
Baji Kalume, a hotelier and AirBnB operator in Lamu, also stated that his rooms were full with booking running up to early January.