Tana grapples with accommodation as regional conference kicks off

Jumuiya Tana River

Tana River Governor Dhadho Godhana (left) and Emmanuel Nzai (right)-the CEO Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani during the 3rd Jumuiya Agribusiness and Blue Economy Investment Conference 2021 in Diani, in this photo taken on December 7, 2021.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

A number of coastal issues have been lined up for discussion as the fourth edition of the Jumuiya, AgriBusiness and Blue Economy Investment Conference is expected to begin on Tuesday  in Tana River County.

Six governors from the Coast region, technocrats and more than 1,000 people are expected at the three-day conference that is scheduled to be opened by President William Ruto.

Some of the issues lined up for discussion are a push by governor’s to be allowed to run the Galana Kulalu food security farm project that lies between Kilifi and Tana River counties and others related to the blue economy.

But as visitors arrive, the county is facing a serious shortage of accommodation, with local hotels overwhelmed by the numbers, prompting some visitors to seek refuge in social halls.

The county will be banking on home-stays besides the 60 hotels available, said County Secretary Mwanajuma Mabuke.

"There are 25 hotels in Galole with a bed capacity of 322, [another] 23 in Tana Delta with a bed capacity of 204, and 12 in Tana North with a bed capacity of 174, which brings the total to 700 rooms available," she said.

The administration will also erect tents at the Mchelelo Primate Reserve on the River Tana for VVIPs.

This will be a rare opportunity for the county to showcase its potential in the blue economy, agriculture, and tourism sector, Ms Mabuke said.

Among hotels that have been selected to host VIP guests are Zuri, Tana Grand Resort, Tana Palace, and Delta Dunes resort, which can accommodate not more than 100 people.

This is why residents have been encouraged to rent out their homes to make an extra income.

"We may have more guests than what our hospitality facilities can accommodate, so the residents should prepare and share with us their capabilities in hosting guests," said Tourism Executive Mahadh Loka.

Mr Loka has called on residents to register with the planning committee so that their homes can be assessed for consideration.

Mr Loka has also encouraged locals to take advantage of the opportunity and offer outside catering services and food delivery.

Traditional food

"We have our traditional food that may not be made by local hotels due to the lack of skills. Therefore, we hope to see locals stepping in to impress our guests and satisfy their visit," he said.

Locals approved for the food business and delivery will require a certificate of approval from the department of health.

Each of the six counties in the region will be attending to pitch ideas and opportunities to investors.

Tana River County hopes to entice investors to put their money into its blue economy plan, which seeks to invest in value addition of food products.

Also on the agenda is a food security plan, and the county government wants investors to put their money into smart-climate agriculture. 

Residents are upbeat that the conference will bolster business in the area in the three days.

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