The Kilifi County Government has set aside Sh75 million to establish tourism attraction facilities at Buthuani area along Malindi’s beach with a view to revive the ailing sector.
The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Mr. Charles Dadu said this is part of a multi-million beachfront revitalization venture to be jointly undertaken by the national and county governments.
Its aim is to regain the glory of Malindi as the preferred tourism destination, a status that the town lost following a combination of factors, among them dilapidated roads and lack of direct flights to and from the Malindi International Airport.
The county and national governments want to set up tourist attraction facilities along the beachfront from the Vasco Da Gama’s Pillar to the Sabaki Bridge, a distance of about nine kilometres.
Dadu said the facilities would create investment and job opportunities and transform tourism to international standards attractive to the modern-day traveller.
At the initial stages, the programme entails the setting up of soccer pitches to promote beach football as well as constructing wash rooms, changing rooms and a tourism information centre that will also act as an administration block.
Speaking to journalists during an inspection tour of the ongoing works, Mr. Dadu said the county government had acquired three acres at Buthuani area opposite the old Malindi Museum for the projects.
Dadu said the county government would rehabilitate the Malindi Jetty, a parking lot with a capacity of 100 cars, as well as set up sea composite walkways and a 10-meter wide cycling path to cater for both cyclists and pedestrians.
A Chief Architect in the State department of Public Works, Eng. Silvester Muli, said the pilot project would be completed in the next three months.
He said the project was similar to the Mama Ngina Water Front Project in Mombasa which is expected to be officially opened during the Mashujaa Day celebrations by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The celebrations will be held at the grounds.
He said the bigger project, which is subject to the conclusion of a feasibility study, would enable fishermen to have fish landing and boat repairing bays and such developments as fish markets, cultural centres, fish sports centres and a golf course among others.
About two weeks ago, Governor Amason Kingi launched the rehabilitation of the 5.5-kilometre Malindi Beach Road from the Lawfords Hotel to Coral Key Hotel that is expected to cost the county government Sh150 million.
He said more than Sh1.5 billion would be used on a beautification programme, road construction and rehabilitation and the improvement of water supply in the tourist resort town to enable the town to compete favourably with Zanzibar and other tourist destinations in the region.
By Emmanuel Masha