The construction of a multi-million shilling conference facility in Malindi, Kilifi County, is expected to play a role in reviving the region’s tourism which is currently in the doldrums.
The facility accommodates up to 500 people. Alexander Zissimatos, general manager of the Plan Group of Hotels International — which entails Sandies Tropical village, Dream of Africa and Dream Gardens Resort — said the facility which is set to be opened in January next year.
Speaking to journalists at Sandies Tropical resort in Malindi, Mr Zissimatos said the facility will be ideal for conference tourists who will be able to land at the Malindi International airport and access the resort in 15 minutes time.
“Malindi tourism is improving. The county government and stakeholders are really working hard to revive the sector. The national government has also promised to expand Malindi airport. Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi has also joined the push,’’ he added.
His sentiments comes a day after Mr Kingi and Italian government entered into an agreement to revive the dwindling tourism industry by improving infrastructure and introducing direct charter flights from Europe to Malindi international airport.
Currently, the facility which will be the largest conference facility in Malindi, is in its final stages of construction.
Mr Zassimatos said the facility is part of the modern tourism products, other than leisure and beach tourism, aimed at attracting conference tourists.
Malindi has been unable to host conference tourism for lack of facilities. Most big conferences are held in Mombasa or Kwale County.
However, Malindi’s Ocean Beach Resort in September hosted the first Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) conference attended by about 1,000 guest.
Early this year, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala challenged investors to develop products that suits modern day travellers.
He said the investors should not wait for the government to implement some strategies and asked them to be innovative to attract both domestic and international tourists.
The founder of Plan Hotel international, Mr Franco Rosso said plans are underway to set up a 24-floor premises in Malindi.