BRIATORE’S LOVE AFFAIR WITH MALINDI CONTINUES AS THIRD RESORT IN THE OFFING
While in Malindi last weekend to see the progress on his ‘Billionaire’s Resort’, which is due to fully open in August this year, did Flavio Briatore let the cat out of the bag, that he was planning to build another resort next year, adjoining the ‘Lion in the Sun’ where he purchased another piece of land with ocean front.
The former F1 Renault Team boss, according to information availed from a source in Mombasa, declared his intention to set up a further 24 apartments similar to those at the Billionaire’s Resort and at least 15 suites to meet the demand for luxury accommodation in Malindi, which has sharply increased since the opening of Briatore’s award winning Lion in the Sun Resorts and Spa.
Once all permits and licenses are secured, and it is understood that the process is underway towards that, construction could start by March 2014 and should be completed inside a two year period. Once the new development will be up and running, Briatore may well emerge as Malindi’s single biggest investor in the tourism industry, and his connection to the rich and famous is expected to bring glitz and glamour to Malindi as visitors will fly in on their private jets or on scheduled flights via Nairobi.
The news were welcomed by tourism gurus in Nairobi, who are now hoping for a revival of Malindi’s tourism fortunes as the formerly sleepy resort town, some 120 kilometres north of Mombasa, now has a chance to reposition itself as an upmarket destination. Malindi has for long been famous for the deep sea fishing season, which already brought such literary greats like Hemingways to Kenya’s shores, and the easy access to Tsavo East National Park and to the marine national park in Watamu add further attractions for visitors, beyond the sun and sand.
‘The publicity alone is very good for Malindi. When he [Flavio Briatore] came with Berlusconi a few months ago, the media attention was massive. Briatore’s involvement in Malindi is almost like a single handed kick start to Malindi’s fortunes. It also affirms that KAA was right in pushing ahead with the airport expansion because a longer runway and a larger terminal can in the end cater for direct flights from Europe. The only issue I have is that the town will be quite dominated by Italians but once those new resorts are known around the world, I guess a lot of other nationalities will also want to go there’ contributed the source from Mombasa when passing the details of this latest new resort development coming up at the Kenya coast.
Others pointed to the planned developments in Lamu, within easy reach by air from Malindi, where a new deep sea port is being constructed and a major infrastructure links are planned for a railway, highway and pipeline to South Sudan, branching off near Isiolo to link Ethiopia with the Kenya coast. ‘All these plans may well result in Malindi becoming a resort of choice for those many expatriates working on the LAPSSET projects and they will have money to burn. Maybe finally things are coming together for this part of the Kenya coast which has for long been neglected and there is growing optimism now that the tourism sector has a bright future’.
Good news for Kenya’s tourism sector as the recovery from the downturn, caused by harsh anti travel advisories ahead of the March elections, is now gaining momentum.