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Major infrastructural improvement to boost tourism in coast region

The commissioning of Lamu Port and construction of modern transport network is set to boost fortunes of tourism sector in coast region.

According to stakeholders in the hospitality industry, the opening of the port, massive infrastructure improvement and expansion of Manda airport will position the Lamu archipelago as a destination of choice for investment and tourism.

“Improvement of infrastructure plays a vital role in travel and tourism competitiveness,” said Lamu’s Director of Betlysalam Resort Said Swabu.

Swabu said Coast region stands to benefit immensely economically from the improvement of roads and expansion of Manda airport and lauded the national government for investing hugely on construction of the new roads and upgrading of the existing ones to improve road connectivity as well as improve socio-economic activities in the region.

“The historical county will now become a world-class destination with global recognition, attracting more tourists and investors,” noted Swabu while being interviewed by Kenya News Agency.

However, Swabu said the county still faces serious power and water supply challenges and urged both the national and county governments to address the issues.

“Lamu is a very important destination for local and international visitors and must have reliable power and water supply,” added the hotelier.

Among the major projects underway include the Lamu-Garissa Road which falls under the Lamu and Garissa counties and is a section of the LAPSSET corridor, having a total length of about 453 kilometers worth 17.9 billion shillings.

The road starts at Mokowe and traverses the Eastern side of Tana River and in some of its section it crosses trading centers in Hindi, Barigonu, Bodhei, Ijara, Roka, Bura, Nanighi and Korakora before terminating at a junction, 13 kilometers from Garissa town. The road project is a gateway to the LAPSSET corridor and provides connectivity to other parts of Kenya through railway and highway.

Other projects underway include the expansion works of the archipelago’s Manda airport by upgrading and widening the existing one-kilometer runway and the addition of a new two-kilometer runway to support tourism and business activities.

The new runway which has been designed to handle larger and heavier aircrafts is hoped to increase the historic town’s appeal as a fly-in destination.

The Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat Director-General (DG) Kenneth Mwige says the ongoing construction of specialized port infrastructure, roads and airport expansion projects will be used to improve connectivity, scale-up Lamu port’s competitiveness and attract investments.

Mwige said the area is opening up as ‘a hub for regional transshipment trade’ following the operationalization of berth No. 1 of Lamu port.

 By Mohamed Hassan

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