More rich Italians invest in Malindi


Investor Franco Rosso (left) with his son Paulo Rosso (right) and daughter Sara Rosso in Malindi. PHOTO | CHARLES LWANGA | NMG

An Italian investor has opened another multi-million shillings luxurious hotel in Malindi, in addition to two others he built on the shores of Indian Ocean.

Franco Rosso, 89, who owns a chain of luxurious beach resorts in Africa, Italy and Switzerland, opened Malindi Dream Garden last week, even as investors are closing down beach hotels in Funzi Island and Mombasa due to low tourist numbers.

Mr Rosso who also owns Diamonds Dream of Africa and Sandies Tropical Village hotels in Malindi says he is optimistic that the coastal town will soon become the next Miami in Kenya.

“The beautiful beach, a marine park neighbouring Gedi Ruins, Arabuko Sokoke and Tsavo East National Park have made the historical resort town a tourism destination,” the investor told BDLife while accompanied by his son Paulo Rosso and daughter Sara Rosso—who manage his properties.

For Mr Rosso, there is no poor timing. He also plans to set up the first 20 storey sky scraper resort at the former Malindi beach hotel as part of his additional tourism investments in the town.

“The state-of-the art project shall be constructed soon at the Malindi beach and Coconut village hotels which were closed down over four years ago due to low business,” he said.

Mr Rosso who first came to Kenya in the 1970s where he used to own Fracorosso Tour which was the first Italian tour operating company in Kenya has hopes in Malindi as a tourist destination.

“I believe in Malindi, in 10 years it will be the most important centre of the Coast,’’ he said, adding that Italian tourists will be able to fly direct to Malindi once the expansion of Malindi airport is complete.

Flavio Briatore, a former Formula One boss who owns two hotels in Malindi also plans to set up another property in Mayungu, where he said he has huge tracts of land.

His hotels are frequented by rich tourists, his ex-girlfriend and presumptive business partner Naomi Campbell and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

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