11-11-2016 by Freddie del Curatolo
"We have to wait another four years to make the international airport working, with direct flights. We can not let tourism from Kilifi to Mambrui die while waiting. We will do our part, the county government has to do the same and the tourism industry must be united and make proposals ".
This is in brief what's in the mind of the Minister for Tourism Najib Balala, who has voluntarily and willingly submitted to a face-to-face with the local community working in tourism, made up of many Kenyans and foreigners not just Italians.
A large participation in the conference room at Ocean Beach Resort, for a meeting in which Balala wanted with it the marketing consultant Roger Jones, in charge of rethinking the redevelopment of the coastal resorts, and executives of his office and the Kenya Tourist Board.
Were present, as well as the Honorary Consul of Italy in Malindi Ivan Del Prete and the landlord Roberto Marini, also some of the most important entrepreneurs of the tourism sector, by the owner of Hemingway Resort Dickie Evans to that of 7 Islands Resort, Crystal Bay Paparemo Roberto Lenzi, from Jacaranda manager, Garoda, Billionaire, the proprietor of Turtle Bay Casino Damian Davies, Armando Tanzini the White Elephant to a large group of hoteliers, restaurateurs, safari agents and many local players, including the spokesman Beach operators .
Balala listened with interest to the speeches and answered everyone's questions, integrating them with very little outspoken interventions "politichesi".
"I came back after five years to take care of Tourism in Kenya, with enthusiasm and found Malindi and Watamu, from which were the locations that will attract more than a hundred thousand tourists per season, plummeted by 40 percent. The decline of Italian tourism, then, was obvious. from 86,000 admissions five years ago to 20,000 this year. what happened? it can not be just blame international airport that is not there. Yet you seem to be the only medicine. Since I'm here I just feel "airport, airport!" as a slogan, like a song. "
Balala has not wanted to tell stories. "The airport has big finance and big problems, will not be ready before the end of 2020. We can not sit and wait until then, we need to move in different directions to revitalize tourism in the meantime."
In the plans set out by the Tourism Ministry is not much marketing.
"We have never had so much money to spend on promotion, $ 1.5 million. The results were them seeing you"
The honorary KWS rangers Adriano Ghirardello congratulated for the success of advertising films that are going on Italian networks in this period, even in the early evening.
"We do our part - continued Balala - and we ask the tourism entrepreneurs not to give up, to be more participatory. Our office is open to proposals and, as we did with incentives for charter and with the demand reduction the entrances to national parks, we are ready to help in other initiatives that will bring, for the good cause of the revival of tourism on the coast of Kenya ".
The Minister of Tourism has asked for more cooperation from the Government of the County of Kilifi, much criticized by the Kenyan operators, and made it clear that while not directly responsible of his cabinet, will work to improve infrastructure.
"We need new and better roads, cleaning of towns and beaches, and to regulate the issue of beach boys intrusive. I assure you that we will do so - said Balala - here we meet again in six months and we will see where we will be. I look also you improvements, svecchiando your facilities and allineandovi with the type of tourism these days. "
by Freddie del Curatolo
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