English supermodel Naomi Campbell has agreed to help promote Kenya as a top tourism destination, coming at a time when the sector is struggling to regain its footing after being ground to a halt by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an announcement on Tuesday, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said Ms Campbell agreed to become Magical Kenya’s international ambassador after talks over the weekend.
“We welcome the exciting news that Naomi Campbell will advocate for tourism and travel internationally for the magical Kenya brand,” CS Balala said in a statement.
The 50-year-old model, who is also an actress and businesswoman, has been vacationing in Kenya since December and is staying in Malindi.
She has a large following on social media with over 13 million followers on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, which Mr Balala reckons will draw more tourists to the country.
Data released by the Tourism Research Institute last month showed that the number of tourists who visited Kenya fell by 72 per cent between January and October last year.
This translated to a loss of revenue amounting to Ksh110 billion (about $1.1 billion) during the period, leading to massive losses in a sector that was one of the most affected by the ban on international travel between March and July.
The tourism industry contributes to about 8.8 per cent of Kenya’s annual gross domestic product (GDP), grossing over Ksh860 billion ($8.6 billion) annually.