Industry operators bank on Diani festival for tourism boost

Tourists at a beach hotel in Diani enjoying local entertainment. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Tourists at a beach hotel in Diani enjoying local entertainment. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

More than 10,000 local and international visitors are expected to converge in Kwale County for extreme sports and fun at the Diani Beach Festival that kicks off this Saturday.

According to the event's director Sandip Patel, the festival - which is being held in Diani for the first time - has attracted visitors from across the world.

“The aim of holding the festival is to showcase Diani as a holiday destination in a bid to attract tourists from around the world,” he said.

The thee-week event, which ends on New Year’s Day (January 1), cost the organisers Sh300 million.

Extreme sports

Some of the participants will include 500 professional skydivers from 37 countries as well as local enthusiasts.

Skydivers include those from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Poland, the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, Denmark, Dubai, South Africa, Spain and Egypt.

Other activities planned for the festival include kite surfing, fly boarding, scuba diving, jet skiing, slacklining, cycling, quad biking, deep sea fishing and yoga.

“Through the festival, we want international water sports and skydiving professionals to have an experience of Diani so that they can share the beauty of the destination with friends,” Mr Patel said.

Tourists from East, South, West and Northern Africa are also expected to come and have fun.

Artistes that will entertain revellers include Sauti Sol, The Beathogs, Tetu Shani, Alisha Popat, Elvis WHO and Roots Connection.

Boost tourism

The Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) Coast branch executive officer, Sam Ikwaye, said the festival will boost tourism in the South Coast.

“It is encouraging that the festival which is being held for the first time in Diani has attracted participants from around the world. For three weeks, Diani will be beamed across the world,” he said.