NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 15 – Kenya is set to develop the first marina in Eastern Africa as it seeks to diversify its tourism portfolio. Private developers EnglishPoint Marina are injecting Sh4 billion investment in Mombasa for the establishment of the facility that will attract tourists from the luxury boating world.
EnglishPoint Marina Director Alnoor Kanji said the investment has the ability to open the high-end international investment market for Kenya as well as the high-end tourist market.
“We are bringing to Kenya a whole new market made up of affluent people and once they come here they can venture deeper into the country,” Mr Kanji said.
The property which sits across the magnificent skyline of Mombasa will feature onsite facilities such as a hotel, conferencing facility, a roof-top restaurant, a casino, swimming pool, serviced apartments, sea front restaurant of international standard, spa and gym, boardwalk with retail outlets, underground car parking, water-sport centre and first of its kind serviced marina.
Alnoor Kanji, one of English Point Marina’s developers said the investment has the ability to open up the high-end international investment market for Kenya as well as the high end tourist market. This will enhance Kenya’s image and profile.
The developers hope that EnglishPoint Marina will further attract international boat races, fishing competitions and small luxury charter services capable of private cruises to Lamu, Zanzibar and other coastal destinations.
The development of this hotel concept comes at a time when the local industry is highly optimistic of the growth momentum for the tourism sector. Recently, Kenya reported a 16 percent rise in international arrivals for the first quarter of 2010 due to the market diversification efforts which have lured new tourists from China, India and the Gulf region.
Announcing the launch of the development plan for the multi-million dollar project Tourism Minister Najib Balala said the project ties in well with Kenya’s development blueprint, the Kenya Vision 2030.
Repositioning of the Coast circuit, opening under utilised parks and providing niche products are the key drivers towards the government achieving this vision through the tourism sector.
The Government aims to make Kenya one of the top 10 long haul tourist destinations, offering diverse and high-end experiences by 2012 to a target five million tourists per year. “With landmark investments such as this, our aim is not a long shot,” said Mr Balala.
The development has been designed by multi award winning architects, Broadway Malyan in the UK. According to an annual ranking survey by Architects Journal (AJ) which ranks UK’s top 100 architecture practices, Broadway Malyan is ranked among the top 10.
Only recently, Mombasa played host to the 100-meter luxury boat owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Unfortunately, the vessel had to be moored mid-stream with no service facilities. “English Point will have a fully serviced 5-star marina capable of mooring 80 to 100 boats; it is the first of its kind in East Africa,” said Mr Kanji.
The Kenyan economy relies heavily on agriculture, tourism and remittances from abroad from its Kenya citizens in the diaspora for economic growth and much-needed foreign exchange. Kenya’s services sector, which contributes about 63 percent of GDP, is dominated by tourism.
The sheer magnitude of this 5-star investment will herald the creation of more jobs in the services sector. The developers project a work force of 400 during the two year construction phase and a workforce of 200 when the development completed in August 2012. The apartments will provide a wonderful opportunity for international and local investors to own a piece of this unique development and lifestyle.
English Point Marina comes on the verge of an anticipated expansion of Mombasa Port which will require high end real estate to accommodate the influx of professionals and managers. Lamu is equally being prepared for Lamu Port; one of Kenya’s biggest infrastructural investments since independence. These developments are expected to make Mombasa one of Kenya’s corporate hubs.
Mombasa born brothers Alnoor and Amyn Kanji had the vision when they acquired the property at EnglishPoint to recognize its unique location and untapped potential. Alnoor and Amyn both gained degrees in the UK with Alnoor successfully qualifying with a BSc degree in Pharmacy from Leicester and Amyn with a BA Hons degree and MBBS in Medicine from Oxford and London.
Alnoor spent time in the UK and Canada working within the Pharmacy sector before returning to Kenya to become the Managing Director of Jubilee Hardwares Ltd in Mombasa and undertaking the development and management of Pinewood Village Beach Resort. Alnoor and Amyn have assembled an excellent team of professionals to realize their vision for EnglishPoint.
These include Broadway Malyan, a leading international practice of architects, urbanists and designers; Beckett Rankine who did the preliminary feasibility and masterplan of the marina; Walcon Marine, prominent Marina consultants; XCO2 for best practice on sustainability issues and Dr E. May & Partners in Mombasa. Construction of the Show Home started in October 2009 and is nearing completion. The main development is due to start in July 2010.
The brothers bring with them the experience of building and managing the award winning Pinewood Village Beach Resort in Galu Beach, south of Mombasa.