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Billionaires Resort to open up Kenya for high end tourists

17 December 2013, 10:37 Bob Ndwiga

Kenya is now set to start receiving well paying tourists after the opening of the KES 500 million exclusive Billionaires Resort in Malindi. Cabinet Secretary for East African Affairs, Commerce and Tourism, Phyllis Kandie, opened the Billionaires Resort in a colorful ceremony of Sunday night.  

After touring the imposing luxury resort with an international Casino and a Restaurant which took the owner, Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore, about three years to complete, the minister declared, “Kenya is now ready to host high end tourists and investors.”

The minister was taken on a tour of the various apartments all with direct view of the Malindi National Marine park beach by  Briatore before a dinner party preceded by a Press conference with large a number of Italian journalists.  

The Billionaires Resort scores a first for Kenya in the tourism sector having attracted the eye of Italian business mogul and former Prime minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi.  

Fernando Alonso, formula one rally champion and a close friend of Briatore who has enjoyed many holidays in Malindi and at the Lion in the Sun also owned by Briatore, has interests in the Billionaires Resort.  

Kandie praised Briatore for showing confidence in Kenya as a base for lucrative investment in holiday related business.  

She expressed confidence that the various billionaire owners of the sections of the resort would hugely transform the caliber of the guests to Malindi apart from attracting more high end investors and tourists.  

She noted that the Billionaires Resort would boost Kenya’ image as an investment base and destination for well paying tourists internationally.  

“I wish to take this chance to thank you Briatore on my behalf and that of the government of Kenya for showing confidence in Malindi as a potential tourist destination for high end tourists and investors,” said the minister.  

She said the decision by Briatore to build the Billionaires Resort in Malindi and the acquisition of all the units by wealthy local and international owners had widely made Malindi famous around the world.  

The minister assured investors and tourists that Kenya was a safe destination and the few incidents of insecurity linked to terrorism which had hit the country in the recent past  should not deter serious profit and comfort minded tourists and investors from venturing into the country.  

Kandie assured Malindi investors that the grievances they had raised including the need to ensure that the resort was clean, the expansion of the Malindi airport to allow direct flights from Italy and the repair of the Malindi-Mombasa highway would all be addressed.  

She also promised to open discussions with the Kenya Airways to re-launch its direct flights from Malindi to Italy through Rome and Milan so as to ease movement of the Italian tourists to Kenya.  

Briatore and the head of Malindi’s sub Italian Embassy, Marco Vancini, had sought to have the KQ resume direct flights from Malindi to Rome or Milan to reduce the time tourists destined for Kenya wasted through flight connections.  

The two who held private meetings with the minister also sought to have the growing number of beach operators who are at times accused of harassing tourists controlled.  

The minister said the central government intends partner with the Kilifi County government to host beach operators in designated zones.  

Kandie asserted that the government had started a system where all tourists would be provided with security and guided to avoid zones deemed as insecure.  

“We have a system through which we are fully ensured that all tourists are safe by providing tthem with police escort,” said the tourism minister.  

The minister also assured Italian investors in Malindi that roads in the area would be repaired and garbage collected within the next few weeks to ensure that tourists visiting the region enjoyed their Christmas and New Year holidays.  

Briatore has in past interviews confirmed that nearly all the units at the Resort have been bought by some of his friends some of whom are “very wealthy people who love Malindi”.

He  was also quoted as disclosing that some of the units were bought by people who had never been to Kenya, but who did so “because they trust me”.

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