Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga
Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore has lamented that mounds of uncollected waste in Malindi are spoiling the image of the town as an investment and tourist destination.
He said many investors and celebrities are willing to invest and stay in the resort town but are being discouraged by filth and poor infrastructure.
Briatore, who is the owner of the luxurious Lion in the Sun Resort and the Billionaires Resort, is in Malindi for the New Year holiday. “We need to bring people to Kenya. The quality of tourists matters but a lot of investments is needed for tourists to come,’’ he said.
He said it was unfortunate that each year, investors have to repeat calls for the removal of the Malindi dumpsite which is located 300 metres from his hotel and more than 10 other hotels and private villas.
Briatore said he was ready to relocate the dumpsite from the current area in Casuarina to Kakuyuni. “I have heard so many promises in Malindi in the last 20 years. How many times are we going to talk,’’ he posed. He also complained about the state of roads, saying the government had taken too long to fix them.
Briatore also called on Kenya Airways to introduce direct flights from Italy to Nairobi and connecting flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Malindi.
He said tourists have to travel for over 17 hours to reach Malindi yet it is a destination that could take only six hours from Italy.
With proper infrastructure, he said, investors are willing to pump in money to set up ultramodern resorts which would attract high-end tourists.
Currently, popular Italian Fashion Designer Roberto Cavalli and his wife Eva are in the resort town while British supermodel Naomi Campbell, a regular visitor, spent the Christmas vacation in the town.