Business boom in Lamu as festival enters third day

Friday November 17 2017

Lamu Cultural Festival

A dhow race on November 16, 2017 during the 17th annual Lamu Cultural Festival as it entered its second day. PHOTO |KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KALUME KAZUNGU
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The 17th edition of the Lamu Cultural Festival entered its second day yesterday with hoteliers, boat operators, small-scale traders and fishermen recording a boost in profits.

This is due to continued arrival of guests in the town for the event, overwhelming business people in Lamu Old Town – a Unesco World Heritage Site – with huge demands.

The festival is an annual event to showcase the rich culture and heritage of the Swahili people.

The fete attracts both domestic and international tourists.

Unlike previous years where an accommodation crisis was witnessed, this year’s event has witnessed a moderate turnout since hotels are not yet fully booked although most of them have more than doubled their accommodation charges.

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Business people interviewed by the Nation were optimistic more guests will arrive on the island especially towards the end of the festival.

Mr Josphat Kamau, a trader, said business was good on Thursday.

“Despite the low turnout of guests this year, we are looking forward to good tidings by the end of the festival on Sunday,” said Mr Kamau.

SunSail Hotel proprietor Ali Bunu said only 20 per cent of rooms at his hotel had been occupied since the year started but with the festival, he was expecting at least 70 per cent bookings by the end of the event.

“Most of the hotel rooms had already been booked by Thursday when the festival began. I am also aware that other hotels on the island are full and that’s a sure sign that things are looking up,” said Mr Bunu.