26-02-2018 by Freddie del Curatolo
Here's the open letter to Kenya Tourism CS, Hon. Najib Balala, sent by the most important italian tourism stakeholders of Malindi and Watamu.
We're asking him a public meeting to talk about enhance of our tourism destination.
We sent the letter to his office one week ago.
Read the letter.
Dear Hon. Najib Balala,
We have known each other for many years, and like me most of the Italian entrepreneurs in the tourism sector of
Malindi and Watamu that I represent as spokesperson.
During the Kenyan Tourism Entrepreneurs meeting held last week in Nairobi, you illustrated a plan by which
Kenya in 12 years should become one of the world's top tourist destinations.
Needless to say, we all wish it all, and we would like to be able to roam in the same direction, in concert with all
the other institutions, government and county.
This year we have seen a return of tourism especially in Watamu.
Results that you have defined as positive, 40% increment in arrivals, a Watamu full in high season, also of local
tourism and a good return of Italians.
Don’t think that this is also partly thanks to us?
Yet, in order to start serious marketing, a "re-branding" as you asked, we should start from some basic elements.
We are and remain convinced that we live and work in a wonderful country, but we also know the dynamics and
laws of the market, the needs of those who travel and go on holiday, the competition from other exotic
destinations, the aspects of "sustainable" development that cannot be neglected.
We are also convinced that we cannot wait for the international airport and direct flights to Malindi as the only
resource to attract tourists, and that entrepreneurs must invest in image and "sell" better product.
Dear Cabinet Secretary, I am sure that the Italian hoteliers and investors in Kilifi County, who already do so,
would further strengthen marketing, if only they saw an improvement and resolution of some of the problems
that plague the coast and that have never really been taken into consideration by the Government, nor by local
How much it is worthwhile to carry out expensive and demanding activities of promotion or improvement of
services and quality standards within the facilities, and then to be told "the structure is beautiful but is the
location really safe? Or: it is too complicated (and therefore expensive) to arrive..."?
With the certainty given by the years of experience and work on site, we can say, collecting the criticisms that
are directed to the destination, that Security and Services are the primary needs to be protected.
We don't think about big things, but at the very least, things that in almost all other top destinations are taken for
ROADS AND EASY ACCESS: As mentioned many times before, of course that the expansion of Malindi
airport would not only important for the tourist destination, but that a growing town with its satellites, seat of
the only airport airport in the whole County needs an international airport more or less like Eldoret or Isiolo for
many other reasons.
We know that Ethiopian Airways has requested to be able to fly from Addis Ababa to Malindi with an aircraft
like the one used by Jambojet that can land on the current runway.
The airport authorities have confirmed that Malindi would be perfectly equipped to receive it, and there are all-
African treaties that favor this. This would improve connectivity with the region and many other destinations,
allowing the seasonality to be extended.
Can they start now?
Why not thinking at the same time about improving roads?
What about the Malindi-Watamu coastal road project, which you promised us you would be interested in?
HOSPITALITY AND GOOD MANNERS:
For years we have been talking about the regularization and control of the phenomenon of beach boys, one of
the major issues of discontent of tourists in hotel reports and on social networks.
Will we be able to solve this problem once and for all?
We receive more and more complaints about the mistreatment of our tourists at Mombasa airport customs.
You have also denounced the malpractice. But we have been talking about it for thirty years now: can
something be done?
WATER: Is it possible, for example, that on the coast once a month water is missing for at least one week?
That every time hotels, restaurants and other tourism-related activities have to incur huge expenses in order to
obtain a primary good that should be guaranteed (for a fee, do you mean, as we have always done)?
ELECTRICITY: Continuous blackouts, drops and voltage increases that ruin any machinery and
instrumentation, and entire days without electricity?
CLEANING AND ENVIRONMENT: Is it possible that we can't free the tourist towns from rubbish, that we
can't fix the streets, we can't think of an (even rudimentary) urban furniture?
Systematic cleaning of beaches?
Why do we not start from here?
Dear Hon. Balala, we would be and will be very happy to work with you over the next years and try to achieve
at least part of the ambitious goals that you have set yourself.
But we also ask you to listen to those who have been investing and working "on the field" for years and through
feedback of visitors, their complaints, the motivations of those who do not return, the sorrows of those who love
this land and its coastal paradises in the face of certain paradoxes, you know what should be done to improve
We officially invite you to Malindi and Watamu before Easter, to talk about all this, with the availability and
frankness to which we have been pleasantly accustomed in past years.
Thank you for your attention,
Freddie del Curatolo
(malindikenya. net and watamukenya. net)
on behalf of Italian entrepreneurs in Kilifi County, including:
Roberto Marini (Ocean Beach),
Pasquale Tiritò (Jacaranda Resort),
Roberto Lenzi (Crystal Bay and 7 Islands Resort),
Guido Bertoni (Garoda Resort & Kobe Suite Resort),
Antonio Colleluori (Leopard Point Beach Resort),
Bruno Boschi (Kilili Baharini),
Rolando Canestrini (Lily Palm Resort), Paolo Bo (Sun Palm Resort Vr Club) and many others
by Freddie del Curatolo
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