Kenya shows off in Italy

September 26, 2008
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, NAIROBI, September 26 – A four day Kenyan tourism and cultural festival has started in Milan, Italy.

The festival is aimed at restoring relationship with key trade partners in Italy and re-launches winter sales which had gone down.

The festival was opened by Tourism Minister Najib Balala and the Vice President of Lombardia, Gianni Rossoni at the Loggia dei Mercanti in the city centre of Milan which is renowned as the business and fashion capital.

The event coincides with the Milan fashion week, which brings over one million visitors to the city thus providing Kenya with a rare opportunity to showcase her tourists product and services, art, culture and export products.

During the opening ceremony Mr Balala appealed to Italian tourists to visit Kenya noting that the country had recovered from the post election crisis and was now safe for tourism and investments.

“We have begun upgrading infrastructure especially roads in the coastal circuits which is most popular with Italian tourists,” he assured.

He invited Italian investors to consider partnering with the Kenya Government to establish an international airport in Malindi.

Key exhibitors at the festival include the Kenya Tourist Board, Kenya Wildlife Service, Italian tour operators in Malindi, renown Kenyan-Italian author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann, the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Kenya Utalii College, and Cultural troupes from the Giriama, Swahili and Waza Dancers.

Kenyan products such as tea, coffee, nuts, arts and food are being showcased at the event.

Meanwhile, Italian charter flight company Livingstone has announced an increase of their joint flights with Eurofly to Kenya from the current once per week to nine beginning in mid December.

The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Livingstone,  Giancarlo Celani made the announcement in Milan when he met Mr Balala.

The new flight schedule will increase the number of seats per week from the current 282 to 2,600. Last week, Livingstone and Eurofly, which is the second travel group to present the new air access opportunity to Kenya, announced a commercial agreement to destinations that include Kenya which is a crucial shot in the arm for the tourism industry.

“This is a welcome move considering my ministry has prioritised the Italian market during this period of recovery owing to its untapped potential,” he said.

Italy is the third largest source market for tourists to Kenya with 84,000 visitors last year.

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