The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife on Tuesday announced that it had appointed British supermodel Naomi Campbell as the Magical Kenya International Ambassador.
According to the ministry, Campbell will promote and market Kenya abroad as an ideal tourism and travel destination, coming as Kenya’s tourism industry took a hard beating due to Covid-19.
In a statement, the Tourism Ministry said the appointment was made following a meeting between Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala and the 50-year-old model.
“We welcome the exciting news that Naomi Campbell will advocate for tourism and travel internationally for the magical Kenya brand,” Balala said in the ministry statement.
On her part, the British supermodel thanked Kenya government for improving the infrastructure at the Coast including upgrading Malindi Airport to international standards.
“I am also impressed with the world-class standard facilities at the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Baobab course located in Vipingo Ridge, the only golf course credited by the PGA in the whole of Africa. I invite gold professionals globally to visit the course to enjoy the experience,” Campbell said.
However, a cross section of Kenyans did not take the pick lightly, instead bashing Balala for choosing Campbell instead of an influential Kenyan to market Kenya abroad, even as some lauded the model's influence and potential to attract to Kenya a niche tourism market.
Here are some of the varied views from Kenyans on social media:
Juzi tu mlisema Elsa is prospering AF juu amepata gig na Naomi Campbell and she is going places bigly.— Shoba Gatimu (@shobanes) January 12, 2021
Meaning you know, Naomi has that audience.
Sasa Naomi amepewa gig ya local na ni kama hamjafurahi.
Is she no longer good as last week?
Ama nini ime change?
Lupita Nyong'o would have made a better Magical Kenya International Ambassador compared to Naomi Campbell. Well, It's just what I think.— BRAVIN YURI (@BravinYuri) January 12, 2021
News about Naomi Campbell being the Magical Kenya ambassador is funnily absurd. How in God’s good earth did we pick Naomi over Lupita Nyong’o?? Why not Trevor Noah? How??? Or it is because waziri is in love with his hey-days star? MAAJABU!— David Osiany, HSC ???????? (@DavidOsiany) January 12, 2021
Campbell spent her holidays in Kenya at the exclusive Billionaire Resort, a luxurious complex linked to her Italian billionaire ex-husband and a former Formula One team executive Flavio Briatore.
Balala made the announcement as Campbell made her third trip to Kenya even as she remained tight-lipped on her low-key visit to the North Coast.
In her last trip to Kenya, the global modelling icon caused a stir after she posed nude in numerous exotic locations in Malindi including a resort said to also belong to Briatore.
She also visited Kenya for charity work in Malindi in 2014 during the Christmas holidays.