Lamu County, located in Kenya, is one of the cultural landscapes in the country on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The County has a population of 143,920 people according to 2019 census. Over 30% of this population depends on tourism as the main source of income. In 2003, the Lamu Tourism Association to established the Lamu Cultural Festival. The annual festival attracted high tourist numbers over the years until the world was forced to go on a lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the tourism industry is still trying to recover post the pandemic, the impact of the lockdown severely affected the economy of the County. Between 2020 and 2021, travel and large events were banned, and all recreational facilities including hotels and museums were closed. Over 600 businesses in the travel industry such as local tour companies, hotels and restaurants were forced to close shop and this led to the escalation of depression cases. In an effort to bring the local tourism economy back to its former glory, the County Government of Lamu invested in the revival of the annual Lamu Cultural Festival with the main goal of boosting the recovery of the sector. The County desired for the festival to attract more local and international participants and for this platform to be utilized for increasing the popularity, utilization and visibility of the Swahili language and culture.
The County Government worked with various partners to revive the cultural festival. These are: LAPSSET, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB), Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Davis and Shirtliff, Captain Andy’s, Brooks East Africa, Safaricom, Redcross, Moroccan Embassy, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Equity Bank, Stuart Herdy, Skyward Express and Tourism Fund.
A Committee was established to organize the four-day event, comprising of the following members:
- A representative from the Lamu Cultural Initiative;
- the County Secretary;
- the County Executive Committee Member in charge with Tourism and Culture;
- the Chief Officer in charge with Tourism and Culture;
- the Director in charge with Tourism and Culture;
- the County Tourism and Culture officers;
- a representative from the office of the Governor;
- the Director of Procurement;
- one representative from Lamu Tourism Association;
- one representative from the business community;
- one representative from the National Police Service;
- one representative from the County enforcement department;
- one representative from the County finance department; and
- one representative from the County department of ICT.
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