On January 12, the Tourism ministry appointed British Supermodel Naomi Campbell as Magical Kenya’s international ambassador, sparking a debate online.
The unforgiving Kenyans on Twitter (KoT) thought it was unwise for the ministry to overlook one of its own.
They wondered why the Najib Balala-led ministry settled for a foreigner instead of Kenya’s own Lupita Nyong’o.
Speaking on Thursday during the issuance of certificates to some 60 researchers who studied the impacts of Covid-19 on travel and tourism industry in Kenya last year, Balala justified his ministry’s choice.
According to the former legislator, the Grammy award winning actress has been inaccessible for five years now.
“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,” he said.
On why they settled for Campbell, the minister said they are seeking to attract a new market which they believe the model can help reach with her vast international networks.
“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. We use Kipchoge to market Kenya because of his vast international networks,” CS Balala said.
He also noted that the supermodel who was holidaying in Kenya for the best part of December, is doing the work for free.
“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,” he added.