05-10-2017 by Freddie del Curatolo
We have already talked about and discussed the tourist mutation that Malindi has been experiencing for a couple of years.
The conversations could continue indefinitely, in the many "social bars" going around the net and are not dissimilar from the speeches that are made on the beach loungers, in restaurants or in the few meeting points of the town, these low season more than ever semi-desert.
Moving to Nairobi, where despite the electoral stalemate and the relative political crisis, we try to look ahead and not cry on our feet, we take the assessments that emerged from these two days of the important Magical Kenya Travel Expo fair.
Can the destination Malindi still interest international buyers, tour operators, agencies and investors? Surely not like once upon a time, but the destination and its charm, linked also to a not too remote past, still resist. The name "Malindi" is now known and still worth believing and propagating.
We just have to differentiate the offer and address new markets and new targets, because the distance with Watamu is now far greater than the distance per mile. It is an abyss of holiday appearance.
Watamu can still live with Italian tourism and some good tour operators - is the opinion of Pietro Mastella, marketing manager of Jacaranda Resort that will be from today in Italy at the TTG Rimini, the most important national tourism fair - who knows how to work also in this period has good employment, although the political uncertainty and the shadows of the past on Kenya have great influence on reservations for the season. But the philosophy remains intact, Watamu has the sea, the beaches and it is the paradise that many begin to know as an entity detached from Malindi. And in addition to other long-haul destinations, the presence of the savannah and safaris, great added value ".
Yesterday the Minister of Tourism Najib Balala admitted that, after the first six months of the year promising, with a growth of foreign visitors by more than 10%, after the cancellation of the elections and the well-known events of this last period, growth has stopped and no forecasts can be made on the continuation of the season. This would block the situation a little bit, especially for arrivals from Europe and the United States, which were the first to give concern to their tourists.
It is therefore urgent to focus more on the internal market and that of the other emerging countries of the Black Continent. In this sense, Malindi has more chance to accommodate citizens of those countries that do not have the sea as the first necessary element for their holidays.
We have noticed great interest of the Chinese towards Malindi - explains Roberto Marini - who appreciate the proximity with Tsavo, nature and also the type of beaches and sea. Not only from the agencies working in China, but also from the many entrepreneurs and citizens who currently live in Nairobi and want to spend the weekends in peace and quiet in top class facilities with good services.
As well as the Chinese, Indian tourism also has a certain affinity for Malindi and the surrounding area, such as Mambrui. And for some time now in India the coast of Kenya has been identified as a destination for weddings and honeymoons.
Moreover, according to the data transmitted by the Kenya Tourist Board during the Nairobina fair, in the fall of the last two months of tourism by sea and safari, the growth (although minimal, but it is already a comforting fact) of business-tourism, i. e. conferences and meetings, prevails.
For those resorts that are not yet equipped, there is an urgent need to think of spacious conference rooms and accommodation or packages that can facilitate this kind of travel.
Malindi remains also the airport hub where you must necessarily arrive, and even here (as Balala himself said at the last meeting in Malindi last year) we certainly cannot wait until the international airport is completed and enlarged. As the Malindi airport (which has international status) can accommodate 100-seat aircraft, for example small airbus from Addis Ababa, Kampala, Kigali and other African capitals that do not have the sea.
From this point of view we have also noticed great interest - adds Roberto Marini - and with a pool of hoteliers we are studying solutions to propose to airlines that, numbers in hand, are very interested ".
Those who care about their business and the recovery of Malindi, can't stand their hands in hand.
"In 2017, we expect 1.5 million visitors to Kenya to enter the country.
The optimistic statement comes from the Kenya Tourist Board, the official marketing body of Kenya's Ministry of Tourism.
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