Tourism CS Najib Balala has revealed that his Tourism Ministry has unsuccessfully tried to get Kenyan Oscar Awards winner Lupita Nyong’o to market Kenyan tourism for the last five years. 

Balala said the Hollywood superstar has been inaccessible for the tourism ambassador role and her handlers have not been cooperative in allowing them to reach her for an engagement.

“I know everybody is asking why not Lupita. Lupita has commitments and her managers cannot allow us to access her. We’ve spent the last five years looking for Lupita," said Balala.

He continued to defend appointment of British supermodel Naomi Campbell as Magical Kenya's international ambassador, saying it will market Kenya through her international networks.

Lupita Nyong'o. PHOTO/COURTESY

The CS once again criticised Kenyans who bashed his ministry for not appointing a Kenyan to the role saying the Ministry of Tourism makes such appointments with a specific target in mind.

“We can have one of our own, and we already have Eliud Kipchoge. We are targeting specific markets and sectors, so we will identify brand ambassadors because of that,” he added.

He praised Campbell for taking up the international tourism ambassador role without payment.

“We have a framework to work around her and she accepted to do it for free. She offered herself because of her love and commitment to Kenya. We are now working on the details on how do we use her to promote the destination.”

Balala spoke at Kenyatta University during the issuance of certificates to 60 researchers who conducted studies on the impact of Coronavirus on tourism and travel in Kenya in 2020.