MALINDI, KENYA; Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore who has heavily invested in the tourism sector in Malindi, Kilifi County has threatened to withdraw his investments in the town owing to ‘poor’ business environment in Kenya.
Flavio who owns the Billionaire Resort and the Lion in the Sun beach Resort said that Malindi town had become too dirty to attract meaningful investors.
“Investors cannot put their money on a stinking and filthy town and the roads [are] full of potholes,” he said on Thursday.
He however said he was not in a hurry to leave and that he will stay around for a decade before he finally pulls out if the business environment remains the same.
“For the last seven years I have not seen any improvement of potholed roads and garbage clearing that has littered the town and investors are now not interested in doing further investment here as they prefer Nairobi,” he said.
“Malindi is a darling town to many European tourists with a strong historical bond with Italy, it has also been named one of the cleanest towns in Africa,” he said.
He also noted that the delay in expansion of Malindi Airport is one of key issues turning foreign investors away from the area.
Mr Briatore who had last month announced that he is selling one of his luxury beach resort, Lion in the Sun amid low tourist numbers, said the hotel is still operational and will not be sold.
At the same time, he defended his move to build a wall at the beach to protect Billionaire beach resort from sea erosion and questioned why he faces too much criticism while other hotel investors in the area had built sea walls.
“In fact in most developed countries, the government builds walls at the sea to protect investments and sand has now accumulated on the wall here at Billionaires which will become a beautiful sandy beach.” He added.
The billionaire resort is a private residence with 24 suits owned by various international celebrities. It is the most expensive to hire in Malindi and guest part with at least sh. 100,000 to spend a night in the suit.