Italian Travel Agents, Tour Operators and Holiday Planners offering vacation packages to Kenya pledged to market Kenya abroad as they feel that the country is a safe tourist holiday destination despite reports that terrorism suspect Fazul Abdallah was hiding in Malindi Kenya. In a meeting, major Safari operators from Italy and Malindi played down the terrorism threats and promised to back the Government in marketing Kenya in Europe. Internationally renowned tour operator Franco Rosso, who owns a chain of resorts hotels in Mombassa and Malindi said marketing the Kenya in Europe was a priority.

He said this was important during this time of low bookings following the post-election violence that rocked the country in January and February 2007 and the world crunch. Another hotelier Mr Quaciari, who operates Mwembe Hotel Resort, Rosada Beach Resort is currently putting up a Sh550 million tourist beach hotel in Watamu said the investors had confidence in the country and looked forward to an expanded tourism sector.

“We support the Government’s efforts to market Kenya and Malindi in particular said the Managing Director African Safaris and Adventures, a luxury beach, honeymoon and family holidays vacations tour operator. The recent visit by the minister for Tourism Mr. Balala to Italy created awareness to Italian travel agents. We will put all our power to market Malindi,” he said. The Italian travel agents were addressing the press at Rosada Beach Resort, where Italian singer Matteo Borghi performed some of his best hits.

However, Mr Rosso, who was the first European to bring a charter flight to Mombassa in 1972, urged the Government to put up infrastructure to boost the sector in the North coast. “The Government of Kenya must give attention to the development agenda and build an international airport in Malindi. The road between Mombasa and Malindi must also be transformed and maintained because it is a basic component of tourism development,” said Mr Rosso. He said issues of insecurity must be given priority and guests assured that they are safe when they visit.