Voting Closed:

TOURISM

Italian investor gives Watamu residents lifeline

Renovating resorts in preparation for reopening.

In Summary
  • Tirito jetted back from Italy in August and found residents struggling as their source of livelihood had collapsed.
  • Usually the resorts would be teeming with European tourists at this time of the year. 
Pasqualle Tirito, chairman of Jacaranda Group of Hotels, with the women cleaning the beach on October 8, 2020.
Pasqualle Tirito, chairman of Jacaranda Group of Hotels, with the women cleaning the beach on October 8, 2020.
Image: ALPHONCE GARI

An Italian investor has spent millions renovating his resorts in Jacaranda, Watamu, over one month despite incurring heavy losses due to Covid-19.

Pasqualle Tirito, chairman of Jacaranda Group of Hotels, said he chose to upgrade the facilities to create jobs and to prepare for international tourists.  

He owns Jacaranda Beach resort, Eden Viaggi Beach Resort and Jumbo Beach Resort.

Tirito jetted back from Italy in August and found residents struggling as their source of livelihood had collapsed.

He said all the hotels in the area depend on the foreign market and none has reopened. 

Usually the resorts would be teeming with European tourists at this time of the year. 

"I have more than 150 people working here daily since I came. The majority are women who do the cleaning so they can get daily bread to feed their families,'' Tirito said.

 

When journalists visited one of the hotels on Thursday morning there were more than 50 women who had gone to look for jobs while at least 70 men were carrying out renovations.

Today the women will clean the beach while others will clean the areas being renovated, Tirito said.

First, everyone's temperature is taken. Everyone is required to wear a mask and wash their hands before getting down to work.

Tirito explains that Eden Viaggi, where he is building a new reception, bar and restaurant, and walkway, had been leased by an Italian tour operator for the last 10 years.

He has now taken it back. "Now I don't do any contracts because I have a brand to maintain, Jacaranda. That's why I am investing heavily," he said.

He plans to open Jacaranda Beach Resort on December 5.

Joyce Ngowa said the last seven months have been challenging but Tirito has offered them hope. 

Ngowa said she has been going to the forest to cut trees. "We used to sell products to tourists on the beach but with hotels closed there is no income," she said.

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya