Investor sets up Malindi centre to tap into conference tourism

Workers at Plan hotel international Malindi preparing dinner for tourists at the resort on February 7./ALPHONCE GARI
Workers at Plan hotel international Malindi preparing dinner for tourists at the resort on February 7./ALPHONCE GARI

The Planhotel Malindi is setting up a new ultramodern conference centre with a capacity to host 500 people.

The centre will open doors in April. The new investment is 80 per cent complete.

Planhotel Malindi, which comprise Sandies Tropical Village, Dream Gardens and Dream of Africa, aims to tap into conference tourism. Conference tourism is popular in Mombasa and Diani.

General manager Alex Zissimatos on Friday said they have started receiving bookings. They expect to host big conferences in June and July.

He spoke at Sandies Tropical Village. Zissimatos said the investment will open up Malindi town.

“It’s a chance for Malindi to tap in conferencing, I’m excited about the project, which will open doors in April,” he said.

Zissimatos said the project will benefit all tourism resorts in Malindi.

He said their three resorts have 133 beds and they hope the demand will be high and shared among other resorts in the town.

“It’s not about me, me and me alone, if I get 500 people everybody will benefit,” Zissimatos said.

“We are sending the programme to corporate organisations and counties with the aim of making Malindi a new conferencing destination.”

Zissimatos said Tourism in Malindi has a lot to offer apart from conference space.

The visitors can tour Vasco Dagama, the Portuguese Chapel, Ruins of Gedi and Arabuko Sokoke Forest.

Kilifi Deputy Governor Gideon Saburi, who was at the resort at the weekend for the Annual Bahari Expo, praised the investor for setting up the conference centre.

He said the move is in line with the idea of diversification to revive the ailing tourism industry in Malindi.

Last year Tourism CS Najib Balala urged investors to develop products that suits modern day travellers.

He said the investors should not wait for the government, but should be innovative and creative to attract tourists. “The people who will come from Kenya, Uganda or other East Africa countries need to see products that suits the modern client,” he said.