Italian billionaire says lack of direct Malindi flights keeps tourists off

Flavio Briatore with his family during a past holiday in Malindi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Flavio Briatore with his family in Malindi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore has urged the government to introduce direct flights to Malindi for tourists arriving from Europe in order to ease travel.

He says many travellers experience difficulty connecting to Malindi Airport once they land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), thereby discouraging visitors from going to the resort town.

Speaking with journalists at his Billionaire resort in Malindi Tuesday, he said the current schedule of domestic flights at JKIA does not correspond with timings of international flights for tourists heading to there.

“National airlines like Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ should make it easier for tourists to travel to Malindi which is a key tourism destination,” he said adding that “many tourists who want to travel to Malindi get stranded at JKIA for lack of flights to connect them to Malindi.”



The government is currently undertaking the expansion of Malindi International airport, with the compensation process for landowners ongoing.

“It does not matter how long the government will take in the expansion of the airport runway as long as they come up with the connection flight,” he added.

His comments come just two weeks after another Italian investor, Franco Rosso - the founder of Plan Hotel Company and Malindi Dream Garden - said he was optimistic that Malindi could be the next Miami once expansion of Malindi international Airport is complete.

Mr Rosso, who also owns Dream of Africa and Sandies Tropical Village resorts in Malindi, also plans to build a skyscraper hotel in the area.

During the opening ceremony which was graced by Tourism Secretary Najib Balala, Mr Rosso said some European tourists are forced to go to Wilson Airport in order to connect to Malindi after landing in Nairobi.