Italian business magnate Flavio Briatore demands more work to spruce up Malindi town

Renowned Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore (pictured) has said the continued failure to spruce up Malindi town has kept away international celebrities and investors willing to invest in the resort town.

Dilapidated infrastructure and poor planning of the resort town, Briatore said, will not attract investors.

The tycoon, who owns the luxurious Lion in the Sun Resort and the Billionaires Resort, said many investors are reluctant to inject funds for setting up state-of-the-art tourism projects or even bringing their friends because of the problems that have taken over two decades to fix.

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The Italian business magnate, who is currently in Malindi for New Year holiday, said investors have repeated calls for upgrading and sprucing up of key infrastructure in the area to no avail.

He cited the relocation of the Malindi Municipal dumpsite which, located within easy proximity of Lion in the Sun Resort and several other resorts, as a move that needed urgent consideration.

''We have 10 resorts and close to 100 private villas in this area yet the local administration deemed it fit to set up a dumpsite in our midst,'' he said.

The Italian investor added that the Government has taken too long to fix roads which are in bad state and full of potholes, making it look bad for both locals and tourists visiting the town.

On international flight connections, he said Malindi deserves a dedicated direct link from Italy which is the largest market for Malindi.

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"Kenya Airways can start a direct flight into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)  and set connecting flights into Malindi as work of extending the runway gets underway," he said.

He said it was unfortunate tourists have to travel for over 17 hours to reach Malindi yet it is a destination that could take only six hours from Italy.

“We need to bring people to Kenya which is a popular long haul destination, but a lot of investments is needed for tourists to come,’’ he said.

He said the hotels in Malindi have not been able to break even owing to the influx of low spending tourists coming on an all-inclusive packages that costs $600 (Sh61, 000).

He said if proper infrastructure are put up, investors, including him, are willing to set up ultramodern resorts which would attract high end tourists.

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Among the celebrities and potential investors who have visited the billionaire's resort and are willing to put up investments include Jean Todt, the President of Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA), former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and one of the co-founder of the Benetton Group, the Italian Fashion brand Luciano Benetton and all the Benetton Family.

In an interview, Briatore said he was ready to relocate the dumpsite from Casuarina to Kakuyuni but did not get cooperation from the county government.

In December last year, Governor Amason Kingi while launching the county online marketing portal, said this year, they would allocate huge funds for the upgrading of infrastructure in Malindi.

He assured investors that the roads would be fixed, beaches cleaned and the dumpsite relocated.

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JKIAJomo Kenyatta International AirportBillionaires ResortMalindiFlavio Briatore