The UK High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, has been in Lamu today for a meeting with local players in the tourism industry as well as Cabinet Minister Najib Balala, beginning with a meeting with airport managers.
As well as tourism, Mr Hailey and Mr Balala discussed security co-operation and UK/Kenya partnerships with particular emphasis on the security situation in Lamu.
During the meeting, Mr Balala told Mr Hailey that the security situation had improved in Lamu. The Cabinet Secretary and Lamu County Governor, Issa Timmamy led tourism stakeholders in lobbying the High Commissioner to lift travel advisories. Balala said that the Kenyan government had increased security in the region and it was time for the UK to lift its travel advisory.
“The travel advisory has been in force for the last five years. The government has done its best, gazetted 12 police stations in the county, deployed nine armoured police vehicles besides other patrols.
If there is a time that we feel secure at the coast, it is now.” – Najib Balala
Mr Hailey said that through his visit he had “recognised the effects of the travel advisory on Lamu.”
“Britain will work with the Kenyan government to improve the situation.” – Nic Hailey
The High Commissioner also witnessed a turtle being released back into the sea.
Lamu is a popular beach escape for tourists as well as offering other attractions including the Lamu Museum, Lamu Fort, German Post Office, Swahili House and the Takwa Ruins.
It is also Kenya’s oldest continually inhabited town, a UNESCO World Heritage site and was one of the original Swahili settlements along coastal East Africa, founded in 1370. Lamu is also home to 23 mosques, including the Riyadha Mosque, built in 1900, and a donkey sanctuary.