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Ray of hope as tourists stream in at Watamu after a peaceful poll

Tourists have begun arriving in Kilifi county following a peaceful General Election on August 8.

Some hotels in Watamu started receiving foreign tourists in large numbers after an assurance that there is peace in the country.

Journalists toured some of the hotels and found tourists relaxing and enjoying their holiday.

Jacaranda Beach Resort has reported over 70 percent bed occupancy.

Since most of the tourists arrived after the election, it is seen as a sign of confidence that the nation was peaceful.

Pasqualle Tirito, the chairman of Jacaranda Beach Resort in Watamu, told journalists they are expecting the numbers to increase to 100 percent from September to December.

Speaking at the hotel, Tirito said many investors and tourists were afraid of the outcome of the election.

The majority of them said they feared the country could plunge into violence. They waited for the results before making up their minds to come to Kenya.

“As investors we are pleased with the peaceful election. We expect more tourists to come,’’ he said.

Tirito said Kenya should be marketed as a safe country. He said the marketing team should use the peaceful election as a strategy to convince tourists to come to Kenya.

Tirito said he was satisfied with the security arrangements. He said tourists can enjoy themselves without looking over their shoulders.

The chairman urged Kenyans to coexist peacefully so as to give confidence to potential investors who have an interest in the country.

Tirito said before the election, many investors were worried that the country could plunge into chaos and that the tourism sector, which is a key economic pillar of the county, would be adversely affected.

“We are very happy to see Kenyans conducting a peaceful election, now many tourists will be willing to come for holiday. We are projecting that the number of visitors will rise significantly in the days ahead,” he said,

Pietro Marsella, the Jacaranda Resort marketing manager, said the county and national government should now begin investing in infrastructure to create a condusive environment for tourists.

He said the roads must be fixed and proper lighting be installed along the Jacaranda-Watamu area so that safety mechanisms are enhanced.

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