Malindi Festival launched to boost domestic tourism

A US soldier samples traditional food in Malindi. PHOTO/MAZERA NDURYA

The National Museums of Kenya has developed a package that will enable people visiting Malindi sample the various heritage sites as a way of marketing the tourist town.

Senior Curator Ghazal Swaleh said they will use the forthcoming Malindi Multicultural Festival to market the town known for its huge Italian influence and rich historical heritage.

Meanwhile, plans have been finalised for the fifth Malindi Multicultural Festival which will bring together the diverse cultures living within the historical and tourist town of Malindi.

Event organisers, the National Museums of Kenya (Malindi) and Mseto Africa said they will be using the festival to showcase the rich cultural heritage that dates several centuries and tourist attractions sites that have made Malindi an important destination in the world.

The festival, which starts from April 18 to 21 this year, will take place during the low tourist season and organisers say the event will generate income for residents and the business community.

Mr Swaleh and Mseto Africa Coordinator Anthony Kadenge confirmed that the festival has secured support from the US and Morocco Embassies.

“Malindi is normally a ghost town immediately after the end of the high tourist season because all the tourists, mainly Italians enjoy summer in most European countries leaving local residents who depend on tourism with no meaningful source of income.

“We realised that the festival would make the town active and vibrant as thousands of visitors come to sample the various activities that display the cultures of the cosmopolitan community,” said Mr Ghazal in an interview with the Nation.

Malindi MP Dan Kazungu however said poor road infrastructure and garbage need to be addressed urgently if the town is to regain its past glory and become a resort city.

Speaking during the launching of Sh150 million maintenance and repair of rural roads in his constituency, Mr Kazungu said repairing roads would also open up Malindi to major tourist attraction sites like Tsavo, Lamu and Mombasa because of its strategic position.

He said they will be using the festival to launch a comprehensive environmental campaign that will improve sanitation and cleanliness in Malindi.

“We have already identified a 40acre piece of land around Arabuko area to be purchased using CDF money for a waste recycling plant that will not only ensure cleanliness of the town but also create jobs for hundreds of youths.

“This will be a public private partnership that has already received support from the British High Commission which is interested in partnering with us for the waste management project,” said the MP.

He said Malindi has the potential to become a leading tourist city in the East African Coast if the sun, beach, wildlife, culture and heritage are fully exploited.

The festival will among other things showcase the various traditional dances, games, traditional attires like Hando and khanga (leso), paintings and boat racing.

Mr Swaleh said the festival has also been instrumental in enhancing peaceful co-existence among the various communities living in Malindi.

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