, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Kenya is not doing enough to position itself to reap from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, according to Tourism Minister Najib Balala.
While admitting that there has been some communication hiccups between the host country and countries within the East African Region, Mr Balala said Kenya was yet to put its best foot forward.
“Remember we are under economic blocks we are not in SADEC (Southern Africa Development and Economic Community) we are in East Africa Community and this is where the biggest challenge lies,” Mr Balala explained.
He pointed out that counties like Botswana and Madagascar seem to have benefited so far are members of SADEC.
The Minister Tourism however went on to note that despite the information flow problem the onus was on Kenya’s Sports ministry to be more proactive and position the country for the 2010 soccer festival.
“Our sports ministry should work with the South African sports ministry to be able to host some of the teams,” Mr Balala said.
The minister was speaking during a media briefing to announce that his ministry has entered into a partnership with the Nairobi Central Business District Association (NCBDA) to re-brand the capital and make it an even more attractive destination for tourists visiting the country.
“Nairobi is very crucial for the image of the country and I believe the moment we put its image right, the image of the country as a whole should improve,” Mr Balala said.
He said the ministry will be seconding two officials to work with NCBDA on the ambitious project.
NCBDA chairman Timothy Muriuki said the plan would among other things include proper labelling of streets, routing Nairobi to show what the attractions are, creation of markets and establishment of areas artists could perform within the city.
“You cannot brand a country without branding the city. Just the same way Coke is the anchor for the Coca Cola Company is the same way Nairobi should be the pedestal for attracting both investors and tourists into the country,” Mr Muriuki noted.
Though the duo did not divulge a budget for the plan, they expressed optimism that some of the ideas should be in place by the end of this year.