The government is turning to personalities to change the fortunes of the tourism industry hit hard by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tourism industry, which was targeting to generate Sh189 billion in 2020/21 Sh22 billion more than what they collected in 2019, is among the worst-hit sector by the pandemic, losing Sh80 billion between February and June 2020.
The latest sign-up being British Super Model Naomi Campbell who on Tuesday agreed to be Magical Kenya International Tourism Ambassador. In her new role, she will help promote the marketing of Kenya as an ideal tourism and travel destination to the world.
“We welcome the exciting news that Naomi Campbell will advocate for tourism and travel internationally for the magical Kenya brand,” said Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala.
During a meeting, Naomi commended the government for the improvement of infrastructure at the Coast including the upgrading of Malindi Airport to international standards that will boost tourism in the region.
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She was also impressed with the world-class standard facilities at the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Baobab course located in Vipingo Ridge.
Naomi will add to the government’s strategy which in the past focused on top-performing athletes to revive the ailing tourism industry.
Last year, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) handed a destination ambassadorial role to an athlete, legendary marathoner Eliud Kipchoge, to promote Kenya’s tourism both locally, regionally, and internationally.
Apart from the 35-year old world marathon record holder, who started marketing role abroad on October 4 last year when he competed in a new super-fast elite only London Marathon at the enclosed loped course in St. James’s Park, KTB said it is planning to partner with other top-performing athletes, six sporting entities and major events.
Just like the Kenya Sevens rugby team (Shujaa) whose partnership is expected to be renewed, KTB has earmarked Kenya women’s national volleyball team (Malkia Strikers) and star athletes (marathoners) to market the country abroad.
“We are using Eliud as a Magical Kenya ambassador so that we can position Kenya better internationally,” said Balala as he joined other Kenyans for the spectacular viewing of the wildebeest migration from Serengeti Game Reserve to Masaai Mara Game Reserve on the sidelines of Mara River last year.