Somalia’s Tourism Blossoms on Popular Beach

Few restaurateurs consider the threat of piracy in their plans but Abdulkadir Mohamed did so for his La Lanterna floating restaurant now moored off Mogadishu’s popular Lido beach. “We considered that pirates could hijack it, and use it to attack cargo ships, so we made it slow so pirates would not see it as a prize vessel to seize and use in any of their attacks.” he says.  With extra security and checkpoints to protect the 2.5 km (1.5 mile) stretch of sand from possible Islamist attacks, the beach offers a place to escape from the battle-scarred capital. Pirates were once the scourge of the region, chasing oil tankers and other ships and demanding ransoms for those they captured. But as Somalia has regained a semblance of stability after almost three decades of conflict and chaos, piracy has faded, even if sporadic bombings still strike the capital. Abdifitah Mohamed Siyad, director of tourism and investment in Mogadishu’s local government, said the city had been ruined by wars and most people had “stories of grief”. He says, “The remedy for the people is to create happiness for them, create an environment for tourism, a time for them to tour, a time for them to chat and forget the past.”

SOURCES: REUTERS

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