Lamu County Government woos Gulf region tourists

Lamu County Government is betting on visitors from the oil-rich Gulf region to boost its tourism fortunes. County Executive for Tourism and Culture Samia Omar said yesterday they have set their eyes on the Arabian travel market as a growth strategy for Lamu's tourism sector.

"We want to attract high spending Middle Eastern holidaymakers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman and even Iran and Turkey by marketing our broad range of natural attractions, pristine beaches and even Lamu's status as a Unesco World Heritage Site," Omar said.

She said travel advisories issued by western nations have hurt the Island's tourism industry. She said vacationers from the wealthy Middle Eastern countries are usually after a 'safe and family oriented holiday destinations, adding that Middle East tourists are some of the highest spending travelers in the world.

"We want to work closely with the national government to promote Lamu's unique culture and tourism products and look forward to an increasing growth in tourist arrivals from the Middle East," she said.

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She said the devolved unit will continue attracting Western tourists to its beaches, while still promoting its Islamic heritage.

"Lamu archipelago is dotted with numerous places of worship and shrines and tombs dedicated to ancient Muslims scholars," said Ms Omar.

"We want to promote the archipelago as a Muslim friendly destination and lure Middle Eastern holidaymakers, who often bring family members with them unlike European tourists and spend lavishly," she said.

Lamu Cultural Promotion Group Spokesperson Abdulswamad Bashiekh said the county has embarked on festivals to promote visitor numbers.

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